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Scotland lose to France in close opening match of World League 2

11 March 2017

Scotland men v Slovakia 1

Scotland lost 3-1 to France in the opening match of men’s World League 2 in Belfast, in a game that was much closer than the score line reflects.

The first circle entry of the match fell to France via Viktor Lockwood but a foul in the circle resulted in a Scots ball. The French created another early chance through Blaise Rogeau, who went charging into circle, but his pass back to the penalty spot was intercepted and cleared by Scotland.

The Scots also created some good chances in the opening quarter, and with a little luck could have taken the lead. Ed Greaves nearly netted but the French keeper produced a great save from point-blank range to keep the Scots at bay.

Ben Cosgrove was next to come close but again the French goalkeeper managed to block and keep the score level.

The first penalty corner of the match was awarded to France but it was defended well by the Scots rear-guard; the French tried to go round the defence to the left but the blue sticks ushered the ball out of play comfortably.

Scotland then had a shot cleared off the line, prompting a French break, but Tommy Alexander made a superb reaction save with his left glove to prevent France taking the lead.

Alan Forsyth came exceptionally close to breaking the deadlock through a penalty corner but the red-hot Scottish striker zipped his effort just wide of the target.

Scotland were then forced to defend a France penalty corner with only three players due to broken line run and a resulting card. The French effort saw the ball loop over the bar. The card however had a part to play as France took full advantage of having an extra man on the pitch. The French opened the scoring when Simon Martin Brisac flicked the ball over the committed Alexander to make it 1-0 on the cusp of half time.

France went on the attack early in the second half; they were kept at bay when Alexander made a solid save with his legs low to his left following an effort from a mis-trapped penalty corner.

A short time later France doubled their advantage. The goal was struck from a penalty corner by Victor Charlet low against the back board to make it 2-0.

France scored a third courtesy of great run through centre by Hugo Genestet, the eventual shot by Jean-Laurent Kieffer crept under Alexander to make it 3-0.

Then came a deserved goal for Scotland early in the fourth quarter to make it 3-1; a penalty corner was smashed low into the net by Alan Forsyth.

Despite a late rally from the Scots France held on to claim victory in the opening match of the tournament.

Scotland men’s Head Coach Derek Forsyth said, “This is a performance we can build on. Its huge not having much time together in the build up to the tournament, but despite that it was a good performance and the game was closer than 3-1 suggests. The main difference was France took their chances, but we had enough chances to at least draw - so there’s certainly lots to build on from this performance”

Photo by Duncan Gray

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