Scotland defeat Northern Ireland in final Pinatar Cup game
Northern Ireland lost out 2-1 to Pinatar Cup champions Scotland in the final game of this year’s tournament in Murcia.
Kenny Shiel’s side went into the game following defeats to Iceland and Ukraine as Scotland had won both their matches against the same opponents.
However it was a dream start as Rachel Furness put Northen Ireland ahead inside 5 minutes when Lauren Wade whipped in a cross for the Liverpool midfielder to head beyond Shannon Lynn in the Scotland goal.
Kenny Shiel’s side then came close to doubling their advantage on 22 minutes when Chloe McCarron’s cross picked out Ashley Hutton at the back-post but she headed wide of the target.
Rebecca McKenna was causing problems for Scotland everytime she ran at them and she won a free-kick on 26 minutes after being brought down by Emma Mitchell who is on loan from Arsenal to Tottenham.
From the resulting free-kick Furness met the ball at the back-post but her header was cleared off the line by Rachael Boyle.
However on 35 minutes Scotland did grab their equaliser when Chelsea’s Erin Cuthbert scored a stunning strike from range the ball dipping to beat Jacqueline Burns in the Northern Irish goal.
Shelley Kerr’s side would then take the lead 3 minutes later when Abbi Grant of Birmingham City took advantage of a poor defensive mistake at the heart of the Northern Ireland defence and slotted beyond the dive of Burns.
McCarron who put in an excellent performance made an excellent block on 42 minutes when Lucy Graham played in Lizzie Arnot but the Linfield midfielder was back to cover.
Grant who scored the winner for Scotland against Iceland on Saturday then had another opportunity on the stroke of half-time when she was played in by Graham but shot straight at Burns.
Scotland started the second half the way they finished the first on top as Graham who plays her football at Everton saw her powerful drive well tipped away by the sprawling Burns.
Burns was then forced into action again as Cuthbert who has helped Chelsea already win Silverware this season with the Continental Cup tried her luck from range once more but the keeper was alert to make the save.
Simone Magill then had a half chance for the Girls in Green as she linked up well with the impressive Wade but her effort was well blocked by Sophie Howard.
Cuthbert was causing all sorts of problems for Shiel’s side as she hit another long range effort on 73 minutes but it sailed over the bar.
It was then the turn of Martha Thomas to try to extend Scotland’s lead fresh from scoring two on her debut against Ukraine on matchday one in the tournament she was played in on goal but it took an outstanding challenge from Rachel Newborough to stop her scoring.
It was a second half of Scotland dominance and they had the final opportunity when Manchester United’s Jane Ross was denied by an excellent save from Burns as she reacted well to tip the ball behind.
Despite not winning in any of the three Pinatar Cup matches there was plenty of positives for Northern Ireland who are slowly building into Kenny Shiel’s philosophy.
Burns, Nelson, Hutton, Vance, McKenna, McMaster, Furness, McFadden (c), Wade, Magill, McCarron.
Lynn, Corsie, Docherty, Boyle, Howard, Murray, Grant, Thomas, Graham, Cuthbert, Arnot.
Hi my names Josh Bunting I study Sports Journalism at UCFB Etihad Campus , Reporter at Sheffield Wednesday football club.