Super Scots defeat USA in Dublin to sit joint top of Pool A
Gordon Shepherd`s Scotland side have made a mockery of
the international rankings and their underdog status by beating the
United States 3-1 in the second pool match of the women`s FIH
Champions Challenge in Dublin today.
The Scots, a modest 21st in the world, are still unbeaten in
this prestigious event after drawing 2-2 with South Africa (seeded
12th) yesterday and have now seen off 13th placed USA today.
Starting the tournament as the bottom seed, Shepherd`s charges
have surpassed themselves and now lie second in the pool behind the
Springboks on goal difference, as they beat Japan 5-1 in the other
A lone piper heralded Kat Cameron`s 50th cap before the start of
the game, but the party went suddenly sour when Katy O`Donnell put
the USA ahead in a counter-attack, as she swept the ball past Amy
Gibson in the Scotland goal.
However, within a minute the Scots were back on level terms,
Nikki Kidd fired her shot through the keeper`s legs at the second
penalty corner. Although the Americans perhaps shaded the
possession, there were few clear-cut chances and the sides were
tied 1-1 at the interval.
The Scots shocked their more fancied opponents at the restart.
Ali Bell drove into the circle, released the ball to Sam Judge who
fired the ball past the USA keeper to put the Scots 2-1 up.
Then there was an almighty let-off with Michelle Vittesse
rounding Gibson and inexplicably sent the ball wide of an open
Shepherd maintained that a solid defensive platform was the main
strength of his squad, and this was now severely tested by the
Americans desperate to get back on level terms, but keeper Gibson
and her colleagues managed to stave off five penalty corner chances
and other attacking sorties.
A sign of the ethos in the squad, Leigh Fawcett received a body
injury with some brave defending, she dusted herself down and
proceeded with the game. The Scots did create a few isolated
chances, a Kidd penalty corner was stopped by the keeper and then
Sam Judge shot wide after good build-up work from Louise Baxter and
With the Americans pressing for the equaliser, almost inevitably
the Scots struck on a counter-attack with three minutes left, Ali
Bell drove into the circle to win a penalty corner, Kidd`s effort
struck the right hand post and Bell followed up to score from the
rebound to kill off the contest. Fawcett received a yellow
card just before the end for break-down play, but it had little
effect on Scottish celebrations at the final hooter.
After a rest day tomorrow, Scotland coach Gordon Shepherd will
prepare his squad to take on Japan in the final pool match, a win
here could put the Scots at the top of their pool – a real feather
in the cap for Shepherd and his charges.
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