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Scotland Women defeat Canada to go to 16th in the world rankings, and Scotland U21 Women beat Ireland to win series – Scottish Hockey

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Scotland Women 3-1 Canada Women

A superb 3-1 victory for Scotland Women over Canada saw the Scots leapfrog their opponents to go 16th in the world rankings. It follows yesterday’s 1-1 draw at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre with the sides due to meet again on Tuesday, and Wednesday, evenings in uncapped matches.

The game began at a frantic tempo with Scotland edging the play. The first chance came when Emily Dark tested the Canadian keeper, Marcia LaPlante, with an early drag flick towards the top left corner, but it was a test well passed as the ball was padded high over the bar.

Katie Birch was next to strike at goal after she did well to fashion some space under heavy pressure on the right of the circle, but her effort looped over the bar.

Early in the second quarter Jenny Eadie came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock. Scotland won a penalty corner, and Eadie blasted an effort that looked bound for the bottom right corner, but the player on the post did a superb job of glancing the ball wide of the post.

Scotland kept coming. Ruth Blaikie won the ball deep in midfield and feed Eadie who slid a beautiful pass behind the Canada defence for Zara Kennedy to run through on goal, but Kennedy’s finish slipped wide of the right post.

As half time beckoned Scotland opened the scoring, and the goal was a thing of beauty. Dark fizzed an inch perfect 40 yard pass down the left for Ellie MacKenzie, who beat the full back and found Sarah Jamieson in the circle, for Jamieson to ping the ball to the far post onto the stick of Heather McEwan, and a 1-0 lead.

Scotland’s tempo continued into the second half and they almost went 2-0 ahead when Fran Lonergan glanced a hard pass towards the bottom right corner, but LaPlante was a match to it.

The second goal came soon enough and MacKenzie pounced on the ball in the centre of the circle to stroke it home, into the middle of the goal, after the Scots battled in from the right. 2-0.

Canada pulled one back at the beginning of the final quarter, and it was a well-worked three-pass move that was finished with the ball being thundered low against the backboard by Mikayla Stelling. 2-1.

Bronwyn Shields showed mesmeric stick skills to weave in and out the Canadian defence to fashion an opening for a shot, but it was booted clear by Rowan Harris in goal for Canada.

The victory was sealed with two and a half minutes left to play when Scotland was awarded a penalty corner. Katherine Holdgate stepped up to the spot and dispatched the ball into the top left corner for 3-1.

There was almost a fourth moments later when Jamieson tore forward and sent a pass into the left of the circle for MacKenzie to slide, and strike, but the ball skidded just wide of the far post.

There would be no further goals and Scotland took the deserved victory and the ranking points to match.

Head Coach Chris Duncan said, “Today was a different game from yesterday. We were cagier in the first half but I was pleased by our intent to stick to the plan we had for the game. We bossed the midfield in the second half and scored two good goals. We had lots of the ball and created more chances than yesterday, and could have taken more.

“The game shows the dangers of playing at this level – you can’t switch off for a second. We were comfortable at 2-0, then it went to 2-1 and things became a little more edgy for a while.

“All-in-all it’s a really good win. It’s particularly pleasing to beat a higher ranked side, which you don’t get to do very often, and we’ll look forward to the next two games and give some opportunities for players to show what they can do in the next games.”

Copyright Ian Foster @IFSportsImages

 

Scotland U21 Women 2-0 Ireland U21 Women

Scotland U21 Women won their three-match series against Ireland with a deserved 2-0 win in the final match of the series. The previous games ended in 1-1 and 2-2 draws at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre.

The Scots looked sharp from the first whistle and came out fast. Two minutes into the game, Ava Smith had the first chance of the contest after a weaving run by Cat Nelli saw the ball fed to Smith to strike from a tight angle, but it was saved at the near post. The chance wasn’t dead yet, and a quick exchange in front of goal allowed Smith to ping the ball into the far corner of the net to make it 1-0.

A swift counter attack by Ireland carved open the Scotland defence but a sensational save by Molly Brown, in a one-v-one at the right of the goal, put an end to Ireland’s efforts.

In the second quarter Ava Findlay’s running power was causing Ireland all sorts of problems. A run down the left won a penalty corner for Scotland and at the second phase of the resulting corner, Amy Grassom superbly picked her spot in the roof of the net to double Scotland’s advantage. 2-0.

Ireland nearly pulled one back midway through the quarter when a powerful effort thundered against the right post and fired across the face of the Scotland goal.

The Irish had another fantastic chance to pull one back when they were awarded a penalty stroke. A penalty corner struck a Scottish foot on the line, resulting in the umpire’s point to the spot. Jess Mitchell wasn’t up for shipping any goals however and produced an outstanding diving save low to her right to bat the ball clear.

The Nelli-Smith combination fashioned another chance for Scotland midway in the third quarter when Nelli surged past two players to give Smith the chance to shoot from the left inside the circle, but the goalkeeper was equal to it and padded the ball clear.

Scotland’s energy levels remained high for the final quarter and the blue shirts were first to every ball. Smith almost struck again with a turn and shot from the top of the circle, bit her effort was saved low at the right post.

In the closing minute Nelli won the ball in the half way line and left the Ireland defenders in her wake, but the goalkeeper was out quick to narrow the angle and block Nelli’s shot, before producing a second stop from Lexie McMillan on the follow up.

It finished 2-0 and saw the successful series end with a win for Scotland.

Tickets are available here: https://scottishhockey.seetickets.com/event/scotland-v-canada-women-/glasgow-national-hockey-centre/3016859

Copyright Ian Foster @IFSportsImages

 

 

 

 

 

 

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