Scotland women rounded off their EuroHockey Championships campaign with an excellent 2-1 win over 8th ranked Spain in Monchengladbach.
It was a fantastic performance by the Scots, in the face of the 11 place ranking gap, and sees them finish on a high.
Scotland enjoyed a good start to the game, and had a great opportunity on the counter attack, after charging down a penalty corner, but Katie Robertson was forced wide, and the danger was cleared.
Then a good backhand ball into the circle by Sophie Hinds asked questions of the Spanish defence, but they were well answered.
As the quarter reached a conclusion, positive running by Heather McEwan won the Scots a penalty corner, which was blasted home by Amy Costello. An exchange at the top the circle allowed Costello to smash her shot into the bottom right corner to make it 1-0 at the end of the opening quarter.
Spain had good possession in the second quarter, but the Scotland defence was well organised, and kept the Spanish away from their circle well.
Then Scotland carved the Spanish defence open, through a tremendous pass by Bronwyn Shields, and Charlotte Watson was denied by an instinctive save. The chance wasn’t dead, and Watson’s second effort led to a penalty corner. Costello’s effort was blocked and allowed for a Spanish counter, but Amy Gibson was strong with a near post save.
The second half saw Scotland sting the Spanish early doors with a slick counter attack, leading to a clinical finish by Charlotte Watson. Watson was sent through on goal by Eve Pearson, and the forward slid the ball low into the right corner for 2-0.
Spain came back swinging after the second goal but found the Scotland defence strong, and defending resolutely.
A world class save by Gibson denied what looked like a certain goal for Spain after the carved they defence open with a corner routine.
The final quarter was backs against the wall for Scotland, and Spain pulled one back through Lucia Jimenez, early in the quarter, through a penalty corner rebound to make it 2-1.
A counter attack allowed Sarah Jamieson to test the Spanish keeper with a scooped lob, but it was well saved.
Scotland won a penalty corner for a foul on Sophie Hinds and a sensational diving save denied Watson another goal.
Spain took their keeper off to give them an extra outfield player with seven minutes to play, and it piled on the pressure to the tired Scotland defence.
Katie Birch blocked a beautifully worked Spanish penalty corner on the line, as Scotland battled hard to keep their advantage.
A penalty stroke was awarded to Spain as the incessant pressure paid off, with two minutes to play, but Gibson was equal to it, and sensationally saved high to her right.
Despite Spain’s best efforts, Scotland’s brave and dedicated performance saw them take the win, and finish the EuroHockey Championships with a victory.
Head Coach Chris Duncan said, “It was a battling performance and I’m so proud of the effort, and dedication to task that the players showed. This was more like what we want to show.
“We were mindful of their threat, and knew they’d give us challenges, so we set up to manage them and catch them off guard, which we did. We deserved our goals.
“We knew they’d come back, but we stuck to task, and I’m really happy with our defence under pressure. They threw everything at us, but we were resolute.
“All in all it’s a bitter sweet week for us. We were great on opening night, that’s how we want to play against a top side, but we’re on a journey, and we’re developing, and the lessons from this tournament will be huge for us.”
Spain 1-2 Scotland (L. Jimenez / A. Costello; C. Watson)