THE host nation finished sixth in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games after losing 2-1 to India at the National Hockey Centre on Friday.

Goals for India came from Anupa Barla and Poonam Rani, Scotland’s reply from Nikki Kidd.

Scotland were made to pay after dominating the first half but squandering opportunities to ahead through misplaced passes and poor decision-making.

They were off to a good start, winning a penalty corner after just 4 minutes, but Susan McGilveray’s shot was smothered by Savita Punia in the Indian goal.

The Scots found great joy attacking down the Indian left wing, Kidd firing pin-point balls onto the on-running forwards, Sarah Robertson and Ailsa Wyllie.

India enjoyed infrequent forward runs and showed little attacking intent, the game began to fall more into Scotland’s favour.

Leigh Fawcett bossed the backline, plucking the ball from defenders and threading cross-pitch passes wide with brilliant effect.

Captain Linda Clement busied herself around the right wing and high up the park, shouting instructions and encouragement to her team-mates, in turn spurred on by the crowd.

But despite having all the ingredients, no one had turned on the oven.

Scotland’s attackers broke into the circle, but either fired their passes aimlessly off the pitch, or opted for the harder pass of two options, which was naturally intercepted.

A second penalty corner was won mid-way through the half. Kidd’s initial flick hit the foot of the first defensive runner and a new corner was awarded.

The resulting shot from Catriona Ralph flew past the right post at head height.

Scotland were given a literal shot across the bows, a warning of what was to come, with a minute left in the half as Anuradha Thokchom blazed a shot whiskers wide of Amy Gibson’s right post.

Early in the second half Scotland won another penalty corner, but opted for a complicated routine, switched left, then back to the right and ultimately tackled.

India then turned on the heat and began playing at an intensity entirely absent from their first half.

Rani shot just wide of Gibson’s near post, Deepika Thakur firing an effort on the reverse, but was easily kicked to safety by Gibson.

India won a succession of two penalty corners, the first hitting a foot, the second, a flick from Jaspreet Kaur brilliantly saved on the line by the stick of Aileen Davis.

A stick tackle on Vikki Bunce gave Scotland another penalty corner, which was smothered by Punia flat on the floor.

A second corner right after brought the save of the game, from Punia, low to her right from Kidd’s flick.

At the other end, a ball from the left wing found Barla in the circle, who shot on the turn past Gibson’s near post to open the scoring on 53 minutes.

Scotland replied two minutes later, Kidd flicking to the bottom left from another penalty corner.

But the joy for Scotland, and the now quite boisterous crowd, was short-lived. Rani was left unmarked in the circle, she collected the ball, opened the face of her stick and fired over Gibson’s right shoulder just two minutes later.

Gibson made several further saves and Rani had the chance to put the game beyond doubt, but scuffed her effort to push the ball home, from only one yard.

Scotland pushed hard for a reply, Robertson broke into the circle and shot on the reverse but Punia was equal to the task.

Gibson was swapped for a kicking-back with less than three minutes to play, but the damage had been done.

As the final hooter sounded, the Scottish players doubled over in exhausted disappointment.

Speaking after the game, India’s captain, Ritu Rani, said she was happy with her team’s performance through the tournament.

On the game, she said: “We are very happy because although we couldn’t reach the semi-final we have finished fifth.

“Some pressure was there, but in the second half we played well and had some chances.

“We got two, but we missed too many.”

Scotland defender, Leigh Fawcett said the team were devastated by the result.

She said: “We had a few chances and unfortunately it was not meant to be today.

“We need to go back and look at it and see, we just needed to convert our chances in front of goal.

“All you can ask from a team point of view is to leave everything on the pitch, and we did that today.

“We had a good tournament and were obviously pleased that we put ourselves in the position to play England for a place in the semi-finals and were largely disappointed losing that 2-1 and we had to pick ourselves up from that.

“Every single player gave their all today.”

Scotland coach Gordon Shepherd said: “We didn’t take our chances.

“There were plenty of them and it had cost us.”


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