Hockey: Scots upset the odds to beat Ireland

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Ireland may be five places above Scotland in the world rankings but it was Gordon Shepherd’s charges who won their Test series with a 4-3 win in the final match at Peffermill, the first stage in the build-up for the European Nations Championships in Belgium later in the summer, writes Craig Madden.

For the second time, the Scots lost an early goal against the run of play, Amy Gibson saved the initial shot but Niamh Atcheler forced home the rebound. The Scots were soon back on level terms, though. Nikki Kidd’s penalty corner strike hit the post and was then illegally stopped on the line by an Irish defender, and Kidd herself flicked a low shot home from the spot.

With eight minutes of the half remaining, Scotland took the lead for the first time. Ali Bell intercepted a pass and made progress down the right wing, and her resulting cross was nudged past the Irish goalkeeper by Linda Clement.

Early in the second half, an Irish attack opened up the 
Scottish defence and Lisa Jacob scored from close range for the equaliser. But two spectacular strikes in four minutes knocked the stuffing out of the Irish as the Scots moved into a 4-2 lead. Ali Bell intercepted a pass out of the Irish defence and ran into the circle and unleashed an unstoppable reverse-stick shot.

Then the ball found Holly Cram and her low reverse-stick shot flew past the goalkeeper.

The Scots then conceded a soft goal to bring the Irish back into the contest and lived dangerously for the closing 15 minutes but the narrow victory rested with the home side.