DUNDEE Wanderers playmaker Vikki Bunce once again proved to be the catalyst as her two late strikes sealed Scotland’s 5-0 win over Wales yesterday in the women’s Investec Cup at the Lee Valley Centre in London.
Gordon Shepherd’s charges threw off the disappointment of the 2-0 defeat at the hands of South Africa the previous day, and indeed should have scored more.
In the first half the Scots struggled against a resolute Welsh defence, and they were restricted to a few scoring chances and no penalty corners. The only goal came when Ali Bell fired in the first shot which rebounded off the goalkeeper to Catriona Ralph. Her first effort was bravely blocked by a defender but she rifled a low shot into the net. Wales had their one and only opportunity of the game with a penalty corner but Aileen Davis swept the ball off the line.
The one-way traffic continued after the interval and the Scots took advantage to go two ahead after ten minutes. At a long corner, Edinburgh University’s Sarah Robertson made progress along the base-line, passed the ball on to Nikki Lloyd and the Canterbury striker swept the ball home at the near post.
It was all Scotland, with eight penalty corners and chances falling to Nikki Kidd, Susan McGilveray, Ralph and Wyllie, only for the frustration level to rise as the Welsh defence managed to survive. But the dam finally burst in the closing five minutes as the Welsh visibly tired.
Bunce nudged the ball home after Kidd’s reverse stick shot was initially blocked by the goalkeeper, then an illegal foot on the line by a defender from an Emily Maguire rebound shot resulted in a penalty and up stepped Bunce to fire home a low flick which sent the goalkeeper the wrong way for 4-0. The final strike was the result of a brilliant inter-passing move involving Bell and Wyllie which opened up the Welsh defence. The former’s shot was saved and the latter put home the rebound.
“I am very happy with the performance. We dominated the game from beginning to end,” Shepherd said. “The game lasts 70 minutes and we started to take our chances in the final five minutes of the match.”
Meanwhile, it was so near and yet so far for Scotland’s men as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Ireland in the Investec Cup in London yesterday, courtesy of a goal 30 seconds from time by Timmy Cockram.
A spectacular Kenny Bain strike in 14 minutes looked to be sufficient to see off a side ten places above the Scots in the world rankings, but in the end they had to settle for a share of the points in a brave performance that must have been a source of encouragement to coach Derek Forsyth with the Commonwealth Games so close.
Bain’s goal was spectacular. An aerial ball from Dan Coultas found Gordon McIntyre, and he fed the ball on to the Hurley striker who unleashed an unstoppable reverse stick shot that went in off the crossbar. At the other end Scots goalkeeper Jamie Cachia made a couple of crucial saves from penalty corners.
Bain had a couple of chances to increase the lead early in the second half but his penalty corner drag flicks were saved. Ireland also had several opportunities but again Cachia remained the barrier.
In the closing minutes penalty corner opportunities fell to Willie Marshall and Coultas and in open play a Forsyth reverse stick shot was saved at the post, but Cockram put a belated dampener on the celebrations.