Scotland Women’s hopes of reaching the semi-finals of the Rabo EuroHockey Championships in Amsterdam suffered a setback when they were held to a goalless draw by Ireland on Sunday.
With England and Germany due to meet on Sunday afternoon, the winners will book their semi-final place and if the match ends in a draw, Scotland will have to beat England and Ireland defeat Germany in their final matches to have any chance of progressing on goal difference.
The likelihood is that both Celtic nations will be in the relegation pool, carrying forward a single point in their battle to avoid demotion to the second division.
The Czech Republic are certainties to be relegation candidates, having followed up a 3-1 defeat by Belgium with a 7-1 hammering by Spain on Sunday morning.
Scotland, ranked 17 in the world, faced an Ireland team one place above them in the world rankings and with a lot at stake, the match proved to be the predicted close battle.
Ireland looked the better team in the first half, Deirdre Duke going close in the fourth minute, but Scotland had a better second half.
Penalty Corners were the best bet of breaking the deadlock, with Ireland having four awards and Scotland two, but defences proved to be on top.
Scotland went close to taking the lead from their second penalty corner with seven minutes to play, Amy Costello finding Sarah Robertson, but Ireland went even closer from their fourth penalty corner a minute later.
A cross from the left of the circle found Kathryn Mullan at an unguarded right post, but inexplicably her co-ordination let her down and the ball rebounded off her foot to Scotland’s relief.
Scotland also failed to take advantage of two power plays as Shirley McCay was shown a green card for a breakdown in play and Zoe Wilson spent the last minute on the naughty step having also seen green.
However, Scotland for whom Surbiton’s Robyn Collins came on as a fourth minute substitute will have to wait to see how England and Germany fare, and then regroup for the Battle of Britain against old rivals, England on Tuesday.
More information about the tournament can be found in the Match Centre section of the FIH website here
The Scottish Hockey match report can be found here