Czech Republic vs. Scotland
Scotland’s second match sees a bumper crowd in the stands. This is their chance to secure a place in the semi finals and for the Czech’s to make up for drawing against Austria two days ago. It’s raining heavily now, more so than in the earlier game. The pitch has been a bit slippery in the last few days when it gets wet. The Scottish FIH A Grade umpire, Sarah Wilson, is here in crowd and I think – I think – that I saw Alan Forsyth from the Scottish and GB men’s set up.
Scotland get a good chance on eight minutes, when Sarah Jamieson gets space with the ball top circle and gets off a reverse stick shot, but it goes wide as she tries to avoid the crowd of defenders. The rain now is almost cinematic now as it comes down pretty much vertically. Another good chance is spent by the young Charlotte Watson, after receiving a pass from the baseline, as it’s stopped by the on rushing Czech keeper, Barbora Cechakova. The first short corner goes to Scotland for hacking, with only 12 seconds left in this period. Amy Costello sends in a straight strike which hits the keepers leg guards and then Scotland give away a foul in the second phase. After the first fifteen minutes the score is 0 – 0.
The game is becoming a bit end to end. Nikki Cochrane, who replaced Amy Gibson in goal at the interval, is forced into a decent save after Czech Replublic take advantage of an attacking overload. Soon afterwards a missed interception in defence sees a fantastic chance for the Czech’s to score, prevented only buy a good save again by Cochrane. Scotland go straight up the other side, aided by a Czech payer missing an interception herself from slipping on the wet turf, but fail to capitalise. End to end indeed.
Scotland are getting more chances then Czech Republic, but the Czech opportunities are coming on the counter attack. The Scottish defence is coming up to the half way line a lot and when there is a missed interception, or bad trap they let the team in red come at them. Scotland are getting plenty of opportunities though, testing the rigidity of the goalie’s pads. At half time the score remains 0 – 0.
Amy Gibson is back in goal for the third quarter. The two Scottish keepers used the same pattern of rotation during their first game. There is also a young fan two rows in front of me, with an official Scottish keeper jersey with Gibson 29 on the back of it. The Czechs push back and actually chuck it forward, turning over possession. In the second minute Sarah Robertson runs down the right hand side, hits the baseline and centres the bal. It comes high up off the Czech defender’s stick and hits Fiona Semple in the face. She’s okay and Scotland get the short corner. A big hit from Amy Costello thumps against the back board; one nil to Scotland.
In the fifth minute, Emily Dark plays in Charlotte Watson for a two versus one against the defender. Watson is now through on the keeper but opts to pass it, to a colleague in a lesser position then herself. A chance goes begging. It was a good move nonetheless, it just needed a bit of attacking greed. Another near miss when Fiona Burnet hits it to the back post and Kate Holmes gets a good touch, but deflects it wide. A seventh minute opportunity comes around again for the Scots, as a Czech defender lifts it up into her own face to give away a short corner. It’s a straight strike and finds the top corner. Unfortunately it’s disallowed for a lifted hit.
With seven minutes to go a push on Lucy Lanigan provides another penalty corner opportunity for Scotland. Rebecca Condie sends it towards a planked keeper and the Czech’s give away another set piece in the second phase. Its sent back towards the injector and centred, for Captain Kaz Cuthbert to deflect it into the back of the net; Scotland 2 – 0 Czech Republic.
Lanigan draws another foul in the attacking quarter and the Czech player is sin binned. From the free hit the Scots earn penalty corner. It’s saved and cleared and now the Czech’s counter attack and earn a corner of their own. It’s slipped left and sent forward. The ball comes up off of a Scottish stick for another go. It’s defended well and passed forward, but turns over and the Czech’s attack again. They move it to the right and send the ball into the circle, but they foul a Scottish defender. The hosts counter and Emily Dark finds herself in the circle with the ball. She’s cleaned out with a tackle. The home crowd are certain that she’s been fouled, but the umpire waves play on. Two minutes are left of the third quarter and the Czechs give away yet another penalty corner. Its charged down by the first runner, who deflects it over the bar; no goal. Czech Republic’s number 17 Veronika Decsyova thinks that she’s running into space with the ball, after stealing it off the Scottish sweeper, but the umpire has spotted a foot foul by her and brings it back. As we enter the final break the score is now Czech Republic 0 – 2 Scotland.
The rain has stopped now, but the tempo to the game hasn’t. Firm passes and strong tackles are being made. It’s quite entertaining. Within three and a half minutes of the restart, the Eastern Europeans get their third penalty corner of the match. There’s a give and go at the top of the circle and Adela Lehocova puts it away. The Czech Republic have got one back to make it two goals to one.
Almost immediately – as in within 40 seconds – Scotland respond. Holmes plays it to #Robyn Collins who plays it and Louise Campbell who duly sees it home, making it three goals to one for the host nation. 3 – 1. The Czech Republic aren’t done though. Katerina Lacina picks the ball up in an attacking position and slips it to Decsyova. She tries to round Cochrane, who does well to keep the ball out. The Czech’s are coming forward again though. Picking up the ball in a central channel it’s moved to the right and sent to the back post. This time Decsyova puts it away; Czech Republic 2 – 3 Scotland.
A heavy challenge on the half way line sees Natalie Hajkova shown a green card. The Czech’s are maintaining their half court press and Scotland are moving up high. Six minutes to go until full time. A ball is played to the back post from the Scottish left hand side. Two forwards are going for it, but the keeper puts a block in and the the ball is cleared off the line. 90 seconds are left and the Czech’s are still looking for the equaliser. A hopeful ball is played into Decsyova, but she can’t get onto it. The final score is Czech Republic 2 – 3 Scotland.