Scotland 2 Northern Ireland 1

Scotland bounced back from defeat in the opening game in Bob Doc 24 to beat Northern Ireland 2-1 in their second game of the tournament at a wet Athlone AFC stadium on Tuesday 26 March.

Scotland kicked off in the teaming rain and immediately pushed Northern Ireland back. They had most of the possession in the opening minutes with Mat Cruft and Lily Boyce switching the ball side to side looking for gaps in the Northern Ireland defence.

Scotland first real attack was in the third minute, started by Lucy Stevenson who threaded the ball between two forward for Orla Burn to run onto and into the Northern Ireland half. Orla played for ball wide for May Cruft, but the ball was intercepted for a throw-in.

May Cruft in action

Ava Allison was combining well with Erin Gilvear down the right side of the pitch, playing one-twos to get through the Northern Irish defenders.

Although Scotland had most of the possession in the opening ten minutes, they didn’t make much progress as their passing on a very wet pitch wasn’t particularly accurate.

Northern Ireland broke fast in the 11th minute when they picked up a loose ball and played a ball through for their pacy Ava Hurl to chase. Caitlin Martin read the situation perfectly and cleared up the danger. Scotland responded with a break down the right side which earned Ava Allison a free-kick.

A minute later it looked like Northern Ireland would open the scoring when, once again, a Scottish attack was overturned, and a long ball played beyond the Scottish back line was played for Ava Hurl to run onto. This time she raced into the Scottish box, but once again a perfectly timed tackle by Caitlin Martin put the Northern Ireland forward off shooting with Lucy Stevenson following in and clearing the rebound off the line. The resultant corner was effectively gathered by Alex Reid.

Caitlin Martin blocks the shot

Northern Ireland went close again a minute later when their Ava Hurl quickly reacted to a punch out by Alex Reid, but her effort missed the post.

Scotland had their first shot on goal when May Cruft intercepted a Northern Irish pass and shot from 25 yards out only to see her effort sail over the bar.

Northern Ireland opened the scoring in the 19th minute with a lovely move involving six players from a throw-in. The ball was eventually moved to Grace McAllister who took the ball to the bye-line and cut it into the Scottish six-yard box. Keeper Alex Reid could only push the ball away and Ruby Adair knocked the ball into the empty net.

Northen Ireland players celebrare Ruby Adair's opening goal

Scotland got back into the game, controlling more of the ball, but couldn’t find a way through the well organised Northern Ireland defence.

The Scots came close in the 25th minute when after excellent inter-passing by Erin Gilvear and Ava Allison saw Erin O’Brien win a corner. The first corner was well defended for another. The second corner was expertly delivered by Iona Watt to the head of Lucy Stevenson. Lucy met the cross, but could direct her header towards the goal.

Lucy Stevenson heads for goal

The Scots increased their intensity of play in the final minutes of the half but couldn’t find their trademark fluid passing and movement play.

Half-time: Scotland 0 Northern Ireland 1

Scotland make changes at the interval with Phoebe O’Donnell and Dara Ositelu coming on for Ava Allison and Amelie Chomczuk.

Straight from the off, Scotland went on the attack. Orla Burn dispossessed a Northern Irish attacker, raced down the left wing, and played a superb through ball to Dara Ositelu. Dara turned, played a one-two with Orla, then moved the ball to Lily Boyce. Lily switched to May Cruft who, in turn, played the ball wide right to Phoebe O’Donnell. Phoebe delivered a dangerous ball into the Northern Irish six-yard box which had the keeper scrambling to reach. This was more like it.

We don’t know what was said, in the dressing room at half-time, but the Scots certainly looked far more up for the game now.

Scotland continued to put Northern Ireland under pressure,but due to a combination of good goalkeeping and resolute defending, couldn’t find a way through to goal.

It was going to take something special to open the Northern Irish defence and that special did come in the 37th minute when after a cross field move involving Dara Ositelu, Lily Boyce, Erin Gilvear and Erin O’Brien, the ball found it’s way to Phoebe O’Donnell. Phoebe cut inside a delivered a superb ball to Iona Watt, at the edge of the box. Iona took one touch and smashed the ball low past the keeper into the next. A well created and executed equaliser.

Iona Watt's shot hits the back of the net

This equaliser certainly gave the Scottish players confidence as they were now showing that passing, moving and high press style that had been their trademark all season.

Dara Ositelu, who was causing the Northern Irish defence all sort of problems with her pace and direct running, went close in the 44th minute when she picked the ball up just inside her own half, beat three defenders and shot narrowly over the bar from 25 yards out.

Scotland won a series of corners in the 46th minute and it was from the third corner Erin O’Brien rose above the Northern Irish defenders and headed the ball into the corner of the net to put Scotland in the lead.

Erin O'Brien celebrates scoring Scotland's second goal

Scotland went close two minutes later when Dara Ositelu narrowly missed connecting with a superb cross by Phoebe O’Donnell after excellent build up play by Lily Boyce then Erin O’Brien.

Melissa Regmi replaced Erin O’Brien in the 52nd minute.

The game was mainly now being played in the Northern Irish half. Orla Burn combining with Iona Watt on the left and Phoebe O’Donnell and Erin Gilvear on the right were getting behind the Northern Ireland back line and swinging in dangerous balls into the box. Meanwhile at the back Lucy Stevenson and Caitlin Martin were still very effectively dealing with, which was by now, any Northern Irish breaks.

Full-time: Scotland 2 Northern Ireland 1

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

Northern Ireland: Zara McAvoy, Holly Hilton, Chloe Beckinsale, Lily Brooke Wallace, Ruby Adair, Charlotte Havern, Emilee Leacock, Mirijana Krrabecaj, Ava Hurl, Grace McAllister, Abby Smyth.
Subs: Daisy Moore, Jemima Hernan, Maja Stachura, Madison Bell, Grace Campbell, Heidi Curran, Sophie Graham.

Scotland Squad

Northern Ireland Squad

Post Match Interview

Scotland's Goals - Behind the Goal with goPro