Scotland men won EuroHockey Championship II in Glasgow in a tremendous 2-1 victory over Wales. Scotland had already gained promotion to the top division of European hockey but took the top prize in the tournament in front of a full house in Glasgow.
It was a nervy opening from both sides, and a highly tactical one. Jamie Wong was picking up good positions for the Scots and Lee Morton looked dangerous on the ball.
The first opportunity fell for Wales and it came at a penalty corner – an area where Wales can be deadly. This time Tommy Alexander got down low to his right to save before blocking the rebound.
In the second quarter the match swung in Wales’ favour. A penalty corner was awarded and James Carson slammed it low into the bottom right corner to make it 1-0.
Wales were playing great hockey and the Scots were struggling to break them down.
It looked like Wales had struck a second when a crash ball into the D was deflected into the net but it was chopped off and Scotland survived.
Within seconds Scotland went on the offensive and won their first penalty corner but Kenny Bain`s powerful strike unfortunately cannoned off the bar. In the resulting scramble another set piece was awarded, this time Bain`s flick was saved on the line by Daniel Kyriakides to prevent the equaliser.
The dramatic comeback started only three minutes into the final quarter, at another penalty corner Willie Marshall`s low drag flick was half stopped by a defender but the ball still found its way into the back of the net.
The Scots` tails were now up, Forsyth had a chance for the lead but his reverse stick effort flew just wide of the target.
But the Scots were not to be denied the ultimate reward, Forsyth was again given the ball in space in the Welsh circle, he needed no further invitation and the Surbiton striker lashed the ball into the net for a 2-1 lead.
A hero now emerged at the other end of the pitch as the Welsh now pressed to get back into the contest, Scots keeper David Forrester, on at half time, produced several telling saves to keep his side in front.
In a desperate attempt to save the contest the Welsh coach replaced his goalkeeper with an additional outfield player but the Scots held on. In the final seconds Bain almost made it 3-1 with a breakaway but he was blocked at the top of the circle.
Fittingly Alan Forsyth won both the top goal scorer and player of the tournament while Tommy Alexander took the top goalkeeper award.
Scotland’s winning goal scorer Alan Forsyth said, “We made it hard for ourselves again but we knew if we played our game we would win the match. When the ball came to me I just decided to hit it as hard as I could. It was one of the best feeling of my life when it went in. Amazing.”
Scotland Captain Chris Grassick said, “This is an amazing feeling. We got what we came for but to get five wins from five is really special. We have a great squad and a great team behind us, and today’s crowd was absolutely amazing.”
Images - Perspective Photos