Scotland Women’s EDP Squad win Irish Series

The Scotland Women’s EDP Squad returned from playing a 3-match series against the Irish U21s in Belfast at the weekend with two wins and a draw. Both teams are in the middle of preparing for the European Championships in July, where they will once again face each other in the group stages.

Match 1

Scotland got off to the worst of starts and found themselves a goal down after 10 minutes.  The goal came from penalty corner rebound which fell kindly for the Irish. Cara McAllister in the Scottish goal did well to get a hand to the reverse edge shot from 8 yards out but could not prevent the ball from squirming over the line. This followed an earlier Irish penalty corner rebound shot which had cannoned of the crossbar.

Playing a new defensive system for the first time, and with a squad containing 12 changes from their last outing, it was not surprising that the Scots were a bit disorganised at the start of the match. As they started to get to grips with the game, they began to win more possession and to establish more territorial advantage. They won their first penalty corner early in the 2nd quarter and came close to scoring before drawing level a minute later.

The equaliser came when Ruth Blaikie intercepted an overhead pass 5 yards outside the Irish 25-yard line. She quickly released Georgia Jones who drove towards the Irish goal from the right of the circle before despatching the ball past the keeper and inside the far post with a strong flick.

At this period the Scots were well on top with another three penalty corners and a succession of goal scoring opportunities. The half finished with a 1-1 scoreline and Scotland clearly on top.

Quarter 3 was much more even with Ireland perhaps shading it in terms of territory and possession, but in terms of goalscoring opportunities there was little more than the one penalty corner effort that each team had.

The final quarter saw Scotland score the goal that won the match. Playing out from deep, Scotland looked like they had turned over possession, but Faith Joubert regained the ball and set Jika Nyirenda free on the right. She evaded four Irish defenders as she carried the ball across the top circle before spinning back to the right and passing to Georgia Jones just outside the far post. She collected the ball on her reverse before turning and flicking beyond the keeper for her second of the match.

The 2-1 final score just about reflected Scotland’s superiority overall. There were several opportunities for the Irish which, if taken, could have led to a different outcome, but Scotland deserved their win.

Match 2

Game 2 was a more convincing win for the Scots in terms of the scoreline.

The first came in the 29th minute when Ava Findlay picked up a ball on the halfway line, evaded a number of challenges and fed a great pass to Georgia Jones. Jones received on the turn before skipping between two defenders and ripping a shot across the goalkeeper for her third goal in two days.

The second goal came in the final quarter when a well worked penalty corner routine was finished by Katie Swanson with a strong sweep-shot just inside the post.

While that second goal all but sealed the result, the game was much more even than the score might suggest. Ireland pressed high and created a number of chances, but Scotland’s defence held firm despite creaking a bit at times.

Match 3

The final match of the series was not one for the spectators in terms of goalmouth incident.

Scotland only managed one penalty corner to Ireland’s three, and shots on goal were few and far between. The best chance of the match fell to Ireland but thankfully for Scotland, a shot from 8 yards out, with an empty goal, was missed and Scotland finished the series unbeaten.

From a Scotland perspective the 3rd match was probably a game too much. A large contingent of their players were playing their 7th game in 11 days following their participation in the European Clubs’ event in Turkey, and physical and mental fatigue was clearly more and more evident as the game progressed.

Scotland’s coach, Neil Menzies was however happy with the three days and had this to say:

“We arrived with a completely different squad from that which played against Wales a week previously. They were given very little time to pick up on some new tactics, and for a number, new positions. Despite this we saw the squad perform well and learn quickly. Clearly, we have identified some areas that require significant work in the coming weeks but overall, I am happy with where we are and the direction that things are going in.”

Next for the squad is four days of training followed by a two-match series against England in Durham on the 25th and 26th of June.


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