Australia showed their teeth at Glasgow Green yesterday as the world number twos thumped Scotland 9-0 to head the pool competition,
But all is far from lost for Gordon Shepherd’s charges in their bid to claim second place and a semi-final spot.
“Everyone is hurting after a defeat like that. We’ve got to get our heads up and the big picture for us is to win the next game against Wales and get ourselves into a good position for the last game against England.”
In positive mode, back-to-back victories against Wales and England would probably achieve Shepherd’s target and keep his medal hopes alive.
Scotland’s demise was founded on the Aussies’ lethal penalty corner machine and they profited from the ease with which the Scottish defence conceded set-pieces, which accounted for the opening seven goals. The routine went into operation as early as the third minute, the Scots failed to clear the danger and were promptly punished when Jodie Kenny fired an unstoppable drag flick past Amy Gibson. The Australians only failed to add to their tally when Gibson’s stick and then glove managed to clear the danger.
The Scots finally came into proceedings, Ali Bell and Sarah Robertson picked up some loose Aussie passes but just failed to get a shot off. The result was effectively sealed with two penalty corner strikes in as many minutes, the first came from a high rebound off Gibson which Ashleigh Nelson fired into the net with a high stick, then Kenny scored with a low shot.
Towards the end of the first half the Scots had a chance to show off their penalty corner capability but Catriona Ralph’s shot was blocked and Bell was unable to force the rebound past the goalkeeper. Scotland also had chances from open play when a good move opened up the Aussie defence but a diving Robertson failed to make contact with the cross.
Australia opened the second half with three more penalty corners, the first went wide, Leigh Fawcett saved the next on the line, and Gibson produced a brilliant save to thwart the Aussies. However, the fourth was only delayed a few minutes, after a stramash around Gibson the umpire at first awarded a penalty stroke, that was downgraded to a penalty corner after a video referral, but it made little difference as Kenny scored with a low drag flick for her hat-trick.
It was now one-way traffic towards the Scotland goal, Anna Flanagan made it 5-0 from another set-piece and two minutes later Georgia Nanscawen found the net. The goals now flowed freely, Flanagan scored another set-piece while Brooke Peris and Jayde Taylor took the score to nine from open play.
In the second game of the day England consolidated their second spot in the pool with a convincing 5-0 win over Malaysia. They are three points ahead of the Scots, but have Australia to play tomorrow, a reversal here will set up the showdown with Shepherd’s charges and a semi-final spot awaits the victor.
Wales are the opposition for both Scottish teams today, and these fixtures are crucial. The women must take three points to keep their medal hopes alive and although the men are out of contention a win would avoid the wooden spoon play-off.