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Scotland beat Austria in epic victory to reach World League semi-finals

16 March 2017

Scotland v Italy

Scotland have reached the semi-finals of World League 2 in Belfast, beating Austria 4-2 in a shootout following and incredible 5-5 draw.

On the day Scotland’s Willie Marshall reached 150 caps for his country, the Blue Sticks put in an epic performance to reach the semi-finals in an exhilarating match. Scotland will face France in Saturday’s semi-final.

The sun came out for the match but it wasn’t shining on Scotland as Austria took the lead inside two minutes. Alexander Bele scored a simple tap in from penalty spot to make it 1-0.

Scotland were in the mood however, and bagged an equaliser five minutes later thanks to Alan Forsyth; some quick passing from Scotland caught the Austrians out and Forsyth placed the ball into corner of goal – a smart finish to make it 1-1.

It was nearly advantage Blue Sticks soon after when from a penalty corner Willie Marshall sent a drag flick crashing off the crossbar. Austria survived and the first quarter ended 1-1.

Early in the second quarter Austria took the lead again through a Bernhard Schmidt penalty corner slammed low against the backboard.

Alan Forsyth then equalised for a second time when he buried a penalty stroke to level the scores at 2-2; it was awarded after a great piece of skill in the D.

Then came a great chance for the Scots as half time beckoned; Alan Forsyth was through on goal but the goalkeeper was quick off his line to block the shot.

Two minutes into the second half and Austria retook the lead again when Dominic Uher slammed home another penalty corner to make it 3-2.

But the Blue Sticks just wouldn’t go away, and Ed Greaves finished to make it 3-3 – the ball was drilled into circle and the rebound off the goalkeeper was tapped in by Greaves.

Once again Austria took the lead this time through Patrick Stanzl, he broke into the circle and wrong footed a Scots defender before finding the corner, leaving Tommy Alexander with no chance in the Scotland goal.

Then Alan Forsyth bagged his hat trick to make it 4-4 – an incredible reverse screamer into the top corner. A top class finish by a top class striker.

Austria were then denied from a penalty corner by a great diving save by Alexander to keep it at 4-4.

Then Scotland finally took the lead in the final minute of the match when Lee Morton deflected home a crash ball to make it 5-4.

Just when it looked like the game was over, there was another twist to the tale. A 60th minute penalty corner was scored by Austria to take it to running penalties.

David Forrester took over in goal for the shootout and stepped up to superbly save two Austrian penalties, while Alan Forsyth, Jamie Wong, Lee Morton, and Gavin Byers all converted to give Scotland a sensation 4-2 win in the shootout.

Scotland Assistant Head Coach Graham Moodie said, “We’re absolutely delighted. The players showed unbelievable fight and character in this game, they were incredible. We probably should have had the game won in normal time but the character of guys like Lee Morton and Jamie Wong, both just turned 21 years old, stepping up and taking responsibility in the shootout was fantastic.

“We’ll take a couple of days to prepare for France in the semi-finals now – anything is possible.”

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