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Women's Football News
After two very tough matches in five days against two very good teams, we have come out of it with two good performances and very nearly two excellent results!
We were saying in the changing room after the France game that the scoreline was quite harsh on us. France played well and tried to create chances but I don't think they actually created a lot of them on the night. But they were clinical and I guess that we weren't really.
We knew that our set pieces were going to be important and we were really pleased that it got us off to a good start. We hadn't really used them to the best of our ability up to that point but it was a great delivery and header from Jayne. We almost scored from a free kick as well but the keeper pulled off a good save from Helen Bleazard's shot.
Unfortunately we switched off in the last couple of minutes before half time and paid the price. Maybe we got over confident in our defensive abilities because they couldn't break us down and were getting a little frustrated. We didn't sit deep all the time, sometimes we closed them down in their half and I don't think they expected that from us.
The whole team deserves credit as defensively we were solid. Three of the back four are not primarily defenders but Jarmo has put a puzzle together and I think he has just found the right pieces. The goals didn't really come from the defence, more from in front of them where we need to tidy up a few things. But Jayne stepped up to the plate and had a great game again in the centre of defence.
When the penalty save came, I started to think that it might just be our night. It was a great save from Nicky but to be honest I thought the handball was outside the area. We thought that Bompastor would put it the way she did, as she is left footed, but Nicky did really well and it is good to see her back in goal.
The second goal probably came around because we lost the ball and didn't pressurise them enough. It was a great ball and both touch finish were good as well and that's what you get when you play these kind of teams. I think that, above all else, was the killer blow for us.
We did get a glimpse of the future when Hannah Keryakoplis came on as sub and was fantastic. I take my hat off to her because it's hard to settle into a new group and step up. You're trying to get used to the pace and you're trying to get a foothold in the game but she was great and I can't wait to see her mature!
I could see from the France team selection that they weren't taking anything for granted and taking Necib, who is a fantastic player, off at half time as we contained her well, showed their respect for us. They had to bring Thomis on for her pace and it did make a difference But it is nice to hear their coach giving us credit as not many teams do that - we are a good side and we're not that far away from competing with teams like France in the future.
It was a good point for us against Scotland. It was a bit of a crazy game, the first half was very open but in the second half we held a better shape and Scotland just couldn't break us down. We had chances to win the game but Scotland came at us after the break and they really pressed us in the last twenty minutes but we felt we had control and didn't feel they would get a third.
The last fifteen minutes was tough but we knew what Scotland were going to do and defended solidly. They were the fresher team as we'd had a double header and the France game was energy zapping. We all dug deep as we knew that stage would be vital and our defence as a team was good.
The two games were very different but attacking wise we weren't quite there against the French because they pinned us back too much. However we were able to use the ball better against Scotland and scored two good goals.
I believe the team will now go to Israel full of confidence but this result makes our loss to Ireland even harder to take. Our opening three games have been of good quality and, considering how far Scotland have progressed over the last few years, to get a point away from home after taking the lead twice, shows other teams where we are.
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