Determined performance but Scotland fall to Poland in Spain

Scotland`s women lost their final match 3-1 to Poland at the EuroHockey Indoor Championships II in Ourense (Spain) this morning, but there was no disgrace in that. The Poles, one of the favourites for the tournament, are currently sixth in the FIH indoor rankings, 13 places above the Scots.

Also, the Poles undoubtedly had most of the possession but Iain Strachan`s charges stuck to their task with grit and determination and certainly gave the Eastern European side a real game of it.

However, the result meant that the Scots finished fifth in the competition – well out of promotion contention.

Iain Strachan, Scotland`s coach, was full of praise for his squad. “Poland are a good side and we needed to win to get fourth. The girls did a good job and overall have played as well as any Scottish side in recent times.

“There are areas to tidy up and work on, but it`s a great squad with lots of growth potential.”

Strachan also pointed out another pertinent point – his side still did not let in a penalty corner – quite a remarkable defensive achievement over five games at this level.

The first quarter produced no real chances for either side, perhaps the best falling to Millie Steiger but easily stopped by the Polish keeper.

However, the Poles struck 13 minutes into the game with a powerful strike from the top of the circle which left keeper Jess Buchanan with little chance.

The Scots came more into proceedings and chances fell to Steiger, Jessica Ross just missed a cross in the circle, and Emily Dark`s run and shot was saved by the keeper.

Three minutes before the interval the Scots were level, Ross was put through, her original shot was mistimed and seemed to confuse the keeper, the Edinburgh University player quickly followed up and forced the ball over the prostrate keeper.

Scots keeper Jess Buchanan then came to the rescue, firstly she frustrated Amelia Katerla`s effort from the spot, and seconds later brilliantly blocked a Polish penalty corner flick.

So the first half finished on 1-1.

The Scots had a couple of early chances in the second half with shots by Ruth Blaikie and Heather McEwan blocked by the keeper. But it was the Poles who took a 2-1 lead with a close range effort from Katerla – making up for her earlier spot miss.

Early in the final quarter the Poles sealed their victory with a strike by Malgorzata Plewa – and there was no way back for the Scots.

With four minutes left Strachan replaced his keeper with an additional outfield player in a bid to rescue the contest. The Scots used their advantage to push for late goals but the Polish defence held firm and they collected the three points.

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