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Hockey: Scotland Under-21s maintain unbeaten run with five-star show

Scotland women’s under-21 side easily maintained their unbeaten run of six games with a comfortable 5-1 victory over Ulster in Belfast yesterday, the final build-up game before next week’s Celtic Cup and thereafter the European Junior Nations Championships in Russia.

The tone was set in only three minutes when an Alex Wilson cross from the right found Edinburgh University’s Sarah Robertson who fired a low shot past the goalkeeper for the opener. The Scots continued to press and in 12 minutes Robertson put the Scots youngsters two up, driving into the circle and unleashing a low shot into the net. There were further chances but but no further goals before the interval and the score remained 2-0 for the Scots.

Louise Campbell and Ali Howie had opportunities early in the second half, but it was not until 52 minutes that the Scots notched their third when Haddington’s Nikki Mollison sent a powerful low drive past the goalkeeper’s right foot. Four minutes later an attack up the right found Kerry Hall and her cross was driven into the roof of the net from a first time shot by McInally. The fifth goal soon followed from a well-worked penalty corner routine when Wilson stopped the ball for Howie whose well struck shot went across the goalkeeper and in. In the dying minutes of the contest the Irish pulled one back from a set piece, but by then it was little more than a consolation.

“At a pre-match team meeting I asked the girls to raise their game, they responded to the bait and we set the tempo right from the start,” said Dave Stott, Scotland’s coach. “This was a much improved performance today, much more like a team hoping to gain promotion into Europe’s top eight in the Europeans.”

On Saturday a last minute strike by McInally salvaged a 1-1 draw in a game that the Scots youngsters should have won with some ease, having had most of the play and most of the chances. Finishing, however, seemed to elude them against a stuffy, and at times destructive, Ulster defence. Despite dominating proceedings throughout, it was Ulster who took the lead from a set piece. The Scots then pounded the Ulster goal in search of the equaliser, with numerous chances created and missed as well as having five penalty corners. Just when it looked as if Ulster were about to steal a victory, Robertson’s shot was saved on the line by a defender and the ball fell to McInally who buried the rebound with a low shot.

The first game had also been a 1-1 draw with Ali Howie’s penalty corner flick being deflected into the net by Fiona Bruce.

 

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