National coach David Thomson has a reduced squad to choose from with Alex Reid, Taylor Coulter and Izzy Young all pulling out due to illness/injury
Scotland started the game on the front foot, pushing the Northern Ireland side back in the opening minutes. Amy Sharkey had the ball in the net inside two minutes but the goal was disallowed as Amy had strayed offside.
This setback did not deter the Scottish side as they took the lead three minutes later. Amy Sharkey was upended 25 yards from goal and the referee awarded a free-kick. Darra Dawson stepped up and hit an unstoppable shot which flew into the top right corner of the net. What a strike!
Northern Ireland were attempting to build from the back, but the high press from Scotland and the power of midfielders Sophie Black, Freya Brien, Lily Boyce and Orla Burn meant that Ireland were pinned in.
That pressure paid off in the ninth minute when Scotland added a second. Lily Boyce intercepted a Northern Ireland clearance and quickly moved the ball to Sophie Black who was in a central position. Sophie beat one defender and drilled a low shot into the bottom left corner of the net from 20 yards out.
Scotland didn’t take their foot off the pedal and continued to press for more.
Amy Sharkey was causing the Northern Ireland defence all sorts of problems with her pacy and direct running with the ball.
Orla Burn, down the left, was getting behind the Irish defence with her pace and Dara Ositelu was showing also her speed with a number of challenges for the ball.
Both full backs, Kate Fraser and Darra Dawson were also looking to get forward as often as they could.
Scotland won a few corners in succession and it was good to see the variations in their set pieces.
Slowly the Northern Ireland side came back into the game and started to string a few passes together without really troubling Kayla Scott in goal for Scotland.
In the 34th minute Dara Ositelu intercepted an Irish clearance, raced past a defender, was through on goal and unselfishly decided to cut the ball in for Amy Sharkey when she could have had a shot herself. Isla Mitchell, in goal for Northern Ireland, made a superb diving interception to prevent the ball reaching Amy.
Three minutes later Scotland made their first substitution of the day replacing Amy Sharkey with Jessica Husband.
In the 40th minute Scotland added a third. They won a corner on the right. When the ball was played into the front post Freya Brien put pressure on the Irish keeper who parried the ball away from goal. Olivia McStay reacted first and headed the loose ball into the net from three yards out.
Half-time: Scotland 3 Northern Ireland 0
May English replaced Orla Burn at half-time and she almost made an immediate impact when with her first touch she drove through the Northern Ireland defence and had a shot on goal.
Captain Sophie Black added her second and Scotland’s fourth in the 47th minute. Jessica Husband, who had looked very impressive since she came on, was played through down the left wing by a superb pass by Darra Dawson. Jess beat two defenders before moving the ball inside to Sophie Black. Sophie beat a defender and drilled the ball high into the right corner of the net out of the reach of the diving Irish keeper. A well work and well executed goal for Scotland.
Scotland then replaced Dara Ositelu with Amélie Chomczuk.
In the 54th minute Lily Boyce, who covered every blade of grass, intercepted a pass out of the Irish defence and quickly played the ball wide to Kate Fraser. Kate took the ball and drove down the wing before delivering a superb pass into the Irish six yard box that just evaded the incoming Freya Brien’s boot.
In the 61st minute Sophie Black and Freya Brien were replaced by Amy Sharkey and May Cruft. May Cruft had been out injured for a while so it was great to see her back out on the pitch again. Erin Husband took responsibility for the captain’s armband.
Less than a minute later Scotland added a fifth. Jessica Husband intercepted an Irish kick out, played a one two with Amy Sharkey, then beat two defenders and accurately shot across the keeper off the far post into the net from a very acute angle.
Less than three minute later Scotland added a sixth when great pressing put the Northern Ireland defence under pressure. Jessica Husband intercepted the clearance 22 yards out, turned and beat a defender before having a shot on goal. The Irish keeper blocked the shot and Amy Sharkey who had followed the shot in smashed the loose ball into the net from eight yards out.
Scotland kept this very high tempo and pressing right to the end of the game and finished off a really superb performance with a well deserved win.
Although Scotland scored six without reply a word must also be said about the two central defenders, Olivia McStay and Erin Husband, who not only dealt very effectively with any Irish attacks, but quickly transitioned defence into attack when the opportunities arose.
Full-time: Scotland 6 Northern Ireland 0
Scotland: Kayla Scott, Orla Burn, Darra Dawson, Kate Fraser, Erin Husband, Jessica Husband, Olivia McStay, Sophie Black, Lily Boyce, Freya Brien, Amélie Chomczuk, May Cruft, Mae English, Dara Ositelu, Amy Sharkey.
Injured/Unwell: Alex Reid, Taylor Coulter, Izzy Young.
Northern Ireland: Isla Mitchell, Catie McGurnaghan, Lillie Horner, Caitlin Carlisle, Ellie McLarnon, Jessica McGuiness, Mia Reilly, Sophie Hutchinson, Anna Walsh, Niasmh Masson, Kayli-Ann Clayton, Zara Maguire, Morgan Beattie, Mia Snoddy, Molly Weir, Natnicha, Mills, Sophie Pollods, Lucy Kelly