Scotland were beaten 4-1 by India in a game that saw the Scots take the lead early doors, and hold their own against one of the best teams in the world. All of India’s goals came in the third quarter.
It was a lightning start to the match and Scotland snatched an early goal – Chris Grassick scoring in his first game back after being out 11 months injured. It was a great return for the captain who has worked tirelessly to recover from a serious cruciate ligament injury.
The goal came from a slick break up the right, which found Kenny Bain against the side-line. There was a lovely piece of skill by Bain before he fired the ball into the D for Grassick, who finished at the far post.
The Scots looked solid and comfortable following the goal. Then India, in a moment of real quality, surged a dangerous move down the right into the Scotland D only to be denied by a great diving save by Tommy Alexander, to keep the score 1-0 to Scotland.
Then it looked as if Scotland would have to face a penalty corner when one was awarded to India, but the decision was overturned after going to the video umpire.
Scotland were content to defend strongly and allow India to knock the ball around, without leaving any openings. Suddenly a quick pass into the D, met by a diving effort by Ramandeep Singh, prompted a brilliant save by Alexander to deny India an equaliser at the end of the first quarter.
Into the second quarter and India continued to slide passes around the Scotland D but struggled to open up the rear-guard. Then when they did fashion a shot on goal, Alexander again met it with a top stop to keep Scotland 1-0 in the lead.
Akashdeep Singh probably should have scored as half time beckoned, the Scots were opened up and Akashdeep arrived at the far post but missed with the goal gaping.
It was a disciplined performance by Scotland and they nearly finished the first half with a two-goal lead. Gavin Byers snatched the ball in India’s half and tried to feed Alan Forsyth in the D, but the pass was behind him and India survived.
The second half got underway and India equalised early doors. The first was a reverse stick rocket across goal by Ramandeep Singh, which left Alexander with no chance. 1-1.
Before long it was 2-1 as India turned it on in the second half. A speedy move down the right and Ramandeep got to the ball ahead of the defender to score. Scotland were digging deep to stay in the match – the game had turned in three minutes.
Scotland, however, continued to battle into the game. A good break forward by Tim Atkins forced a card, but the Scots were unable to capitalise while India were down to ten men.
Then came a quality finish by Akashdeep to make it 3-1 for India with five minutes left of the third quarter.
With moments remaining of the third quarter India was awarded a penalty corner. Harmanpreet Singh picked out the top left corner with a superb finish to make it 4-1. Alexander had absolutely no chance in the Scotland goal.
At the start of the fourth quarter a good run by Lee Morton into the India D was defended well to keep Scotland at bay.
Scotland continued to search for a goal and came close when a swift attack by the Blue Sticks saw a perfect delivery by Atkins into the D, but Alan Forsyth couldn’t connect.
Scotland men’s Head Coach Derek Forsyth said, “We got off to a great start and played really well throughout the first quarter, certainly defensively. At half time we discussed being better on the ball and trying to cause a few new problems for India. Unfortunately we got off to a bad start in the third quarter, and got punished. We know where we need to improve, and we will, and our aim is to improve with each performance throughout the tournament.”
Notes for Editors
Scotland Men play at Hockey World League Semi-Finals at Lee Valley Hockey Centre, London on 15/06/2017 – 25/06/2017.
The Lee Valley Hockey Centre is the legacy venue from the London 2012 Olympic Games
Scotland (23) men are in Pool B with India (6), Netherlands (4), Pakistan (13), and Canada (11).
Pool A has Argentina (1), Korea (12), England (7), China (18), and Malaysia (14) drawn together.
June 15 2017 – 14:00 – India 1-4 Scotland
June 17 2017 – 18:00 – Scotland v The Netherlands
June 19 2017 – 12:00 – Scotland v Pakistan
June 20 2017 – 12:00 – Scotland v Canada
June 22 2017 – TBC –
June 24 2017 – TBC –
June 25 2017 – TBC –
Full info on the World League Semi-Finals in London: http://www.fih.ch/events/hockey-world-league/2017-men-hockey-world-league-semi-final-london-eng/pools-matches/
Photos: Perspective Photography