England 1 Scotland 1

Despite taking the lead inside two minutes, it was England who won the penalty shoot-out 5-4 to lift the Bob Doc Cup this year in Athlone, Ireland

The outcome of the Bob Doc Tournament was on a knife edge. If England won or the game ended in a draw, and they won the bonus point, the cup would be theirs. If Scotland won, then the outcome would depend on the result of the Republic of Ireland v Northern Ireland game.

Warm sunshine welcomed both sides to the pitch after a week of rain and cold.

Scotland kicked off and immediately went on the attack, with May Cruft playing the ball forward to Orla Burn.

In the second minute Orla Burn dispossessed an English defender just inside the opposition half, raced past two defenders and hit a superb shot which sailed high over the advancing keeper and into the roof of the net. What a start to the game.

Orla Burn celebrates scoring Scotland's goal

England immediately went on the offensive, but Sky Murtagh and Caitlin Martin looked solid at the back.

England equalised in the fourth minute when the speedy Sophia Burton received the ball from a throw-in, turned and played a defence splitting ball for Emily Giddings to run onto and take the ball past the advancing Morgan McCrory before passing the ball into the net.

Emily Giddings equalises for England

Both teams battled for possession with May Cruft and Lily Boyce working hard in the midfield to retain the ball. The English backroom staff obviously had done their homework with both May and Lily surrounded each time they received the ball.

Lily Boyce battling for the ball with her English counterpart

The English side had two very fast wingers, but Abby Hayes and Iona Watt kept them under control very effectively.

In the ninth minute Ava Crawford dispossessed and English defender and played a superb through ball to Phoebe O’Donnell. Phoebe took the ball to the bye-line and forced a corner.

Phoebe O'Donnell speeding past the English defender

Scotland were playing a high press, giving the opposition little time to build up play, resulting in them winning the ball back or forcing hurried decisions in the English side.

Midway through the first half, Scotland after a period of English pressure, began to push higher up the pitch and make use of the pace of Orla Burn and Phoebe O’Donnell on both wings to attack the opposition defence. Erin O’Brien ran tirelessly up front to attempt to force the English defence into mistakes.

Erin O'Brien stretching the English defence with her pace
Scotland needed to be conscious of the pace of the English forwards in fast break situations with Sky Murtagh and Iona Watt had to move fast to intercept on more than one occasion.
Sky Murtagh clears the danger

In the 13th minute England’s 11 got behind the Scottish defence but Caitlin Martin raced in and cleared the ball from the danger.

A minute later, after a great interception by Sky Murtagh, May Cruft played a defence splitting pass for Erin O’Brien to run onto only for the English keeper to reach first and clear the danger.

In the 25th minute Morgan McCroary made a fine block to deny England’s Sophia Burton when she broke through on goal. From the resultant corner Iona Watt was well positioned to clear a shot which looked goal bound.

Iona Watt clears the ball

Scotland responded with an attack which ended with May Cruft having a shot on goal from the edge of the box.

Half-time: England 1 Scotland 1

The second half continued from where the first left off with both sides pushing hard for a goal.

May Cruft began to get some space as the half progressed and managed to turn the English defence on more than one occasion with precision passing and dribbling.

May Cruft in action

In the 38th minute Lily Boyce played a great through ball for Phoebe O’Donnell for her own half, but Evie Mitchell, in goal for England,was on her toes to reach the ball first.

A minute later Scotland got a free-kick when Phoebe O’Donnell was pulled back. Iona Watt’s shot from the kick, 20 yards out, narrowly skimmed the bar.

England responded with a quick goal-kick which resulted in the ball being played over the Scotland back line. Morgan McCroary was quick off her line to clear the danger.

Iona Watt and Orla Burn were combing well to put the English defence under pressure midway through the half.

Scotland then got a series of free-kicks which Iona Watt delivered very effectively into the English box.

Scotland had a chane in the 56th minute when Ava Crawford raced past the English keeper after a through ball from Lily Boyce. Ava managed to put a cross into the English box, but the ball was cleared for a corner before Dara Ositelu could bring the ball under control.

The English defender clears the ball before Ava Crawford can challenge

Scotland pushed England right to the end but couldn’t find a gaol to keep their Bob Doc hopes alive.

Full-time: England 1 Scotland 1

England won the bonus point penalty shoot-out 5-4 which gave them seven points which meant they were the Bob Doc winners 2024.

England: Isla Law, Millie Burdon, Macy Walby, Rachel McPeak, Annabelle Tang, Chloe Giddings, Sophia Burton, Tilly Abrahams, Freya Weeks, Emily Giddings, Dolly Reynolds.
Subs:  Evie Mitchell, Honey Benton-Bryan, Zoe Ciccardini, Macie-Mae Halsall, Lily Janes, Lottie, Thorpe, Masie Brickell.

Scotland: Morgan McCroary, Abby Hayes, Iona Watt, Sky Murtagh, Caitlin Martin, Lily Boyce, Phoebe O’Donnell, May Cruft, Orla Burn, Ava Crawford, Erin O’Brien.
Subs: Amelie Chomczuk, Dara Ositelu, Alex Reid, Erin Gilvear, Lucy Stevenson, Ava Allison, Melissa Regmi.

Scotland Squad

England Squad

Scotland's goal - Behind the goal with GoPro