Bronze Medal joy for Scotland with victory over Spain
Scotland Women capped off a remarkable week at the FIH
Champions Challenge in Dublin by winning the Bronze Medal match
courtesy of a 4-3 penalties win over Spain.
Indeed, it turned out to be a double celebration for the squad
too, as Laura Bartlett was named Player of the Tournament by the
It was Bartlett herself who coolly beat the
Spanish goalkeeper to score the winning goal in a dramatic penalty
shoot-out after the teams were tied at 2-2 in normal
time. The first round of penalties had ended 3-3, before
Scots’ goalkeeper Abi Walker prevented the Spanish forward from
finding the net, and up stepped Olympian Bartlett to give Scotland
their best finish in a world level tournament in decades.
Gordon Shepherd and his squad can take immense pride from the
occasion. They were seeded to finish last in the tournament and
came away with a number of scalps over the last seven days. The
additional bonus will be that Scotland`s status in the world
rankings is bound to improve from 21st place, as all the other
nations are placed from 9th to 15th.
The national side had the better of the opening exchanges with
early chances falling to Linda Clement, Vikki Bunce and Bartlett
before their dominance was finally rewarded when Bunce robbed a
Spanish defender in the circle and passed the ball onto Holly Cram,
who swept the ball home from close range.
Unfortunately, the Scots were hit from a counter-attack from the
re-start and Barbara Malda stroked the ball into the empty net for
the equaliser after a speculative Spanish lob.
The game continued to ebb and flow for the rest of the first
half; Bunce, Bartlett and Ali Bell created further openings and
Nikki Kidd found her penalty corner efforts blocked by the Spanish
keeper. At the other end, Walker had to look lively as Spain
had two set piece opportunities of their own. Louise Baxter
then won a penalty corner in the closing minutes of the half, but
no goal ensued as the Scots just edged the opening period.
However, they struck again early in the second half after
Bartlett won a penalty corner. Kidd`s vicious drag flick flew into
the top corner of the net off a Spanish defender for her fourth
goal of the tournament.
However, with Becky Ward in the sin bin, the Spanish took
advantage as a strike by Pilar Sanchez was half stopped by Walker
only for the momentum to take the ball over the line to level the
match at 2-2.
Scotland then had the chance to win the tie in normal time when
Bartlett won yet another penalty corner. Kidd`s shot was illegally
stopped by a defender on the line, but Bunce`s effort from the spot
was dramatically saved by the keeper.
They finished the half the stronger side with chances falling to
Emily Maguire from a set piece and Bunce, but with three minutes
remaining they survived a close call when a Spanish forward rounded
Walker, only to miss the open goal.
Shepherd’s side looked to be the team with the initiative to win
the game in extra time with further chances falling to Bartlett and
Bell, and Linda Clement actually hit a post at a penalty corner.
However, there was to be no further scoring.
In the resulting penalty shoot-out, in which the attacker has
eight seconds to beat the goalkeeper, Bartlett, Kidd and Clement
all scored, but the sides were still locked together at 3-3.
In sudden death, Rachel Huertas missed for Spain as Walker
closed her out. Bartlett was up to the task as she rounded the
keeper and took her time to pick her spot in the net to win the
bronze medal for Scotland.
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