Defeat for Scotland U21 Women against clinical Russians

16 July 2017

Ellie Hutcheson U21 Scotland Women

Scotland U21 Women were defeated 7-0 by Russia in their opening match of EuroHockey Junior Championship II in Hradec Kralove. It is a scoreline that doesn't quite tell the full story of a match that saw Scotland press forward for large periods of the contest.

The Scots had barely finished singing the national anthem when Russia took an early lead. Ekaterina Makagonova scored on four minutes to put Russia 1-0 up. The Russians were sharp in the circle and after a couple of ricochets the ball was dinked over the Mairi Fletcher to make it 1-0.

It was a very difficult opening quarter for the Scots as Russia dominated and pegged Scotland back. The quarter ended with Russia 1-0 in front and Scotland battling hard to keep them at bay.

In the second quarter however, Scotland came back into the game and played much better hockey. Things were looking positive for the Scots until Russia sucker punched them with a couple of clinical strikes.

The first came midway through the second quarter when Iuliia Sartakova thumped home a penalty corner. Five minutes later and Sartakova scored her second and Russia's third to make it 3-0 as the second quarter came to a close.

With these strikes the game swung towards the Russians and gave Scotland a mountain to climb in the second half.

The second half saw Scotland start on the front foot as they pressed Russia high up the pitch, forcing a succession of turnovers.

Scotland won a couple of penalty corners, one of which forced a good save when Laura Swanson injected for a pre-planned routine looking for a deflection. The keeper did well to save and deny the Scots a goal.

Scotland was looking the better team until they again were caught out by sucker punch breakaways.

The Russians were very direct and moved the ball from back-to-front very quickly. Scotland struggled with shape to deal with the breaks and Russia took full advantage.

A quick break led to a penalty corner and allowed Russia to make it 4-0 towards the end of the third quarter. Valeriia Borisova provided the finish.

Scotland kept plugging away and Emily Dark unleashed a ferocious shot that shaved the post in its way wide. Had it been on target it would have been a certain goal.

Then came a nightmare fifth goal for Russia right at the end of Q3 - Borisova again with the finish.

The fourth quarter didn’t start well for the Scots as Svetlana Eroshina made it 6-0 on 49 minutes. Anna Golubeva scored Russia’s seventh just one minute later to rub salt deeper into Scottish wounds.

Still Scotland charged forward. Lexi Sabatelli beat a couple of Russian defenders down the left and she found Lorna Cruickshank who deflected just wide.

Despite the heavy defeat Scotland had some good performances with Emily Dark and Ellie Hutcheson playing well in attack, Katie Stott performing at the back, and Zoe Sinclair making an impact in the second half.

Scotland U21 Women’s Head Coach Neil Menzies said, “The Russians were very clinical on the break and we were naïve in how we dealt with it. It was a bobbly pitch and so there were lots of bouncing balls that we came out second best on - and we let Russia break quickly. You also have to credit their good finishing.

“We could play this game again a dozen times over and never lose 7-0. You can’t lose 7-0 and it not take its toll emotionally. So, we need to emotionally put this game behind us, look at the video, and learn from it. Our target is still to finish in the top two and progress in the tournament and I’m still confident we can do that.”

 

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