Women’s football: Scotland upbeat for England tie

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SCOTLAND coach Anna Signeul believes her injury-hit side can still beat England tomorrow despite losing 1-0 to New Zealand in their opening Cyprus Cup match in Nicosia.

A 26th-minute goal by midfielder Betsy Hassett was enough to give the Olympic quarter-finalists victory in a game of few chances. “It was a disappointing result,” admitted Signeul. “They had one real chance and they scored, while we couldn’t convert ours. We worked as hard, as you would expect, but gave the ball away too easily which is not something we normally have a problem with.”

With four experienced defenders either injured or unavailable, Scotland received a further setback when captain and record cap goalkeeper Gemma Fay was unable to travel to the ground because of a migraine. Long-time understudy Shannon Lynn, the only other goalkeeper in the squad, deputised and Signeul praised the contribution of the Hibs player.

“She had a really good save in the build-up to the goal but, unfortunately, New Zealand scored from the follow-up,” said Signeul. “But Shannon did well and, along with Jenny Beattie and Megan Sneddon, was among our best players.”

Giving possession away cheaply cost Scotland in the first half, and their hopes of equalising in the second period were undermined by injuries to attacking midfielder Kim Little and striker Lisa Evans. In the other Group A match, Hope Powell’s England team started with a hard-fought victory, beating Italy 4-2. The England scorers were Jordan Nobbs, Steph Houghton, Jess Clarke and Ellen White.

There was much more encouraging news for Scotland from La Manga in Spain, where the Under-19 side beat England 2-1 in the opening match of the Ten Nations Tournament thanks to goals from Zoe Ness and Carolina Richardson.