Hockey: Dundee Wanderers closer to Europe thanks to late strike from Amy Rowan

A STRIKE two minutes from the end by Amy Rowan gave VWS Dundee Wanderers a single-goal victory over a battling Edinburgh University in a rescheduled Subway national league fixture, a result that has ended months of frustration for coach Iain Strachan and virtually assured the Taysiders of European hockey next season.

Wanderers had already beaten the students 2-0 back in March, but Scottish Hockey upheld an appeal by Edinburgh on procedural irregularities, and the original result was declared void. Worse still for Strachan, Wanderers had to play the game without playmaker Vikki Bunce, as she is committed to the Scotland build-up for the Celtic Cup and Champions Challenge.

Wanderers are now firmly established in the runner-up spot, three points ahead of Giffnock, but the two sides are still due to meet in the next few weeks in another void fixture. However, even if Giffnock were to win this ultimate encounter, they are unlikely to make much inroads into the Dundonians' massive 33 goal advantage.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In a first half where both sides looked distinctly rusty, chances were missed at both ends. Wanderers` strikers Rowan, Julie Bryce and Heather Elder created several scoring opportunities, but failed to really trouble student's keeper Grace Cuthill. In reality, it was Carmin Dow at the other end that was the busier keeper with a couple of crucial double saves. Ironically, the best chance of a goalless first half fell to Edinburgh's Laura Protheroe but she contrived to miss the open goal. Just before the half time whistle Rowan had the opportunity to put her side ahead, latching on to a pass from Bryce but her effort went wide.

Wanderers stepped up the pace after the interval and Rowan forced a triple save from Cuthill in the opening penalty corner. Rachel Osborne almost broke the deadlock for the home side, but her goal-bound shot was brilliantly stopped on the line by the stick of Edinburgh's Amelia Thomson.

After 55 minutes, Rowan's penalty corner shot was illegally stopped in front of goal by Sue Johnston, and from the spot Rowan barely troubled the Edinburgh keeper with her fluffed effort. Just as the game seemed to be drifting to a goalless draw, with two minutes left a 40-yard move involving Heather Elder and Rowan opened up the Edinburgh defence and the latter finished off with a low shot. "Justice was done, and now we will have to see what happens to the match against Giffnock," said an emotional Iain Strachan.

Meanwhile, at a blustery Bellahouston yesterday the Scotland girls under-16 match against England got off on a sad note with a minute's silence for the death of squad player Emma Broad who passed away in her sleep last weekend. In the match, there was no scoring in the first half although there were chances for both sides to take the lead. But thereafter England took control and marched into a 4-0 win, Kirsty McWhirter claiming a hat-trick.Then it was the turn of the boys and within 21 minutes the Scots found themselves two goals down. In 28 minutes, however, they were back in the hunt when Perthshire's Murdo Elwin pulled back a goal. In the second half England, though, took control and scored a further four for a comfortable 6-1 win.