Scotland denied win over Ireland by late penalty stroke

Scotland men were denied victory over Ireland when a late penalty stroke was awarded to the Irish by the Video Umpire, and converted by Shane O’Donoghue to share the points. Scotland had gone into a 3-1 lead with two goals by Kenny Bain and a superb finish by Craig Falconer at the Belfius EuroHockey Championships in Antwerp. Scotland will face the Netherlands in their final Pool B match on Tuesday.

On the day Gavin Byers won his 150th cap for Scotland, the Blue Sticks came out quickly and created an early chance when a backhand pass across goal by Lee Morton narrowly evaded all the forwards at pace.

Then Andy Bull saw a fierce penalty corner deflected onto the post by Ireland’s goalkeeper, and the sheer force of the shot saw the ball zip up the pitch.

Ireland looked dangerous as well and Benjamin Walker came close in their first chance of the game; he bundled his way into the Scots D and rolled his effort just wide of the far post.

Ireland then took the lead with a top corner finish by Shane O’Donoghue. The ball somehow found its way through the Scotland defence from wide left and O’Donoghue at the far post picked his spot in the top right corner to give his side the lead. 1-0.

Scotland came into the second quarter searching for an equaliser and it nearly came when another Bull penalty corner caused a scramble in the Ireland D, but eventually the was ball booted clear by the goalkeeper.

Then a Blue Sticks attack down the right saw the ball bounce to Alan Forsyth but his instinctive shot on the turn was well saved at the near post.

Scotland’s deserved equaliser would come as half time approached. Kenny Bain found the net for Scotland with a deflection into the roof of the goal after some good play by Lee Morton on the right.

Bain scored his and Scotland’s second right at the start of the second half. Aidan McQuade dummied a strike from the top of the D at a penalty corner, Bull fired it towards goal and Bain pounced on the rebound to make it 2-1.

ANTWERP – Belfius EuroHockey Championship Men and Women
Ireland v Scotland (Pool B)
Photo: Benjamin Walker

Scotland enjoyed a quarter of serious pressure with Ireland hanging on. The Scots were denied a third when an excellent save denied Cammy Golden at near post high under the bar. Morton ran through Irish midfield at pace, picked out Bain, and the ball broke for Golden who aimed for the roof of the net, but the keeper was out quick to block.

Then a great break down left by Duncan Riddell found Forsyth who turned the defender inside out but his shot went just wide of the mark.

A third goal would come soon enough and Craig Falconer scored an absolute beauty to make it 3-1 to Scotland. From the baseline Falconer twisted and turned in the D and found the back of the net via the crossbar from a tight angle to make it 3-1.

Golden was then denied a fourth for Scotland when his powerful shot goal-ward was padded into the air.

Ireland pulled it back to 3-2 to Scotland with five minutes to play. A solid strike by Tim Cross into the bottom left corner left Alexander with no chance.

Then with minutes remaining a penalty stroke led to the equaliser for Ireland. The Video Umpire over turned the initial decision and awarded the stroke. Regardless, Shane O’Donoghue made no mistake from the spot and took a share of the points for Ireland going into game three.

Kenny Bain said, “We made a big step up from yesterday, but I’m devastated to draw the match and with my part to give away the corner that led to the Ireland goal at the end. Our performance was outstanding, we were unlucky not to win, but respect to Ireland – they’re a good side.

“We did a lot of video work last night to connect better high up the pitch and it worked well. It’s about competing, we’re not here for nothing, we’re here to take these teams to the brink. The next game against the Netherlands will be really hard but we’re going to go for it – were looking forward to playing a great side.”


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