Scotland women defeated in close match against Spain
9 January 2017
Scotland’s senior women’s hockey team lost 2-1 against Spain in a competitive match in Valencia. It was the first of four test matches against Spain as part of preparation for World League 2 in February.
The game got underway with pressure coming from the Spaniards but the hosts found Scotland defending strongly. Once the Scots settled they began to ask some questions of their Spanish hosts. Amy Brodie was playing well showing some good skills up the wing and some great defensive pressure when defending.
Scotland went driving towards Spain’s attacking circle - Robyn Collins sent a great aerial ball out from the back prompting a stealthy attack, but the Scots were unlucky not to fashion a clear opportunity to strike.
They didn’t have to wait long to create another opportunity however, and this time the Scots made it count. Some great work by Charlotte Watson and Fiona Burnet set up Millie Brown to finish off the move, and give Scotland a well-earned lead - 1-0. It was Brown’s first goal for Scotland and an excellent team goal for the visitors.
Scotland could have doubled their lead shortly after the opener; from a corner a straight strike by Amy Costello was just too high, and missed the mark.
Spain then had a good spell of attacking hockey but found Scotland goalkeeper Nicola Cochrane on top form. A string of saves by the keeper brought the end of the first quarter with Scotland leading Spain 1-0.
The Spaniards were on the hunt from the start of the second quarter but a brilliant defensive, and specifically goalkeeping, effort kept them at bay. Hardworking defensive pressure from the Scots resulted in the Spanish struggle to find a way through. Some more excellent goalkeeping by Cochrane maintained Scotland’s lead until half time.
Shortly after the restart, Scotland nearly bagged a second goal when Jen Eadie struck after a fast break from Scotland through another of Collins’ aerials.
It was Spain however who took control of the game and dominated the third quarter. Eventually, Spain’s pressure paid off and they struck an equaliser. After an initial save by the impressive Cochrane the follow-up second shot was a rocket into the net - 1-1.
From heavy Spanish pressure, a brilliant run by Ali Howie from Spain’s corner nearly led to a counter attack goal but the final effort narrowly missed the target.
Spain then took the lead when a quick exchange carved open Scotland’s defence before a composed finish made it 2-1 to the hosts.
At the start of the final quarter Spain nearly put the game to bed but were denied by Collins with a last ditch challenge to deny the Spanish and early goal.
With three minutes on the clock, player of the match Cochrane made way and Scotland finished the game with 11 outfield players in the hunt for an equaliser. It was a nail-biting finish but Spain held on to win the first game of the series 2-1.
Scotland Women’s Head Coach Gordon Shepherd said, “There were positives tonight but also there’s areas to improve on. The first quarter was very good, but in the second we backed off them a bit and became reactive. The third quarter was the most disappointing as that’s when the goals came, but the fourth quarter was a lot better.
“Tomorrow, we’ll need to apply more pressure and stop them dominating the game. There will be four or five changes to allow other players to show what they can do ahead of selection for World League 2.”
The remaining matches will take place on the 10th, 14th, and 15th of January