Scotland women lost their final match of the RABO EuroHockey Championship 2017 1-0 to the Czech Republic. The result means Scotland is relegated to EuroHockey Championship II.
After Spain’s 7-2 win over Ireland Scotland had to win against Czech Republic to avoid relegation. It prompted Scotland to apply heavy pressure from the push back as they went in search of an early goal. A mistake however allowed Klara Hanzlova to hit the Scots on the break and she struck the left post with Amy Gibson beaten at full stretch. It was an early warning for Scotland that just one mistake could be costly in a game of such importance.
Scotland won the first penalty corner of the game but the effort by Bex Condie was blocked and Scotland retained possession. The Scots picked the ball up out right and Condie drove into the Czech D to win a second penalty corner. This time Condie’s effort hit a foot, and with her third penalty corner Condie came so close to opening the scoring but her effort zipped just wide of the left post.
Then from yet another penalty corner there was a wild scramble for the ball in the Czech D right at the end of the first quarter, but it came to nothing and the quarter ended 0-0.
After the restart some strong running up the right for Scotland by Becky Ward saw the ball fizzed into the D for Mairi Drummond, but she deflected the ball just wide of the goal.
Then Czech Republic hit Scotland with a sucker punch. Despite Scotland’s possession and pressure it was the Czechs who took the lead when Tereza Mejzlikova fired low into the net to make it 1-0.
A big save denied Scotland an equaliser right at the end of the half, Condie was denied by a top reaction save low to the left.
Scotland peppered the Czech goal in the third quarter but found goalkeeper Barbora Cechakova in sparkling form. Katie Robertson came closest to scoring when she sent a delightful snapshot goal ward after a penalty corner was blocked, but it was well saved by Cechakova.
Nikki Lloyd thought she’d scored when she shot on the turn but it went inches wide of the target. Scotland went to kicking back for the final ten minutes and chance after chance fell for Scotland as the quarter progressed but the ball just wouldn’t go into the net.
In the end the Czech Republic held out for the win consign the Scots to relegation.
Scotland Head Coach Gordon Shepherd said, “We’re gutted, the ball just wouldn’t go in for us today. I can’t fault the players for commitment, they gave it everything they had. We had enough chances to win the match but didn’t take them and came up a goalkeeper in inspired form.”
Scotland Hockey | World Sport Pics