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Late, late goals boost Scotland
 Women's Football News 6 Apr 2012
 
Scotland 2 (Jones 86, C.Murray 87) Republic of Ireland 1 (D.O'Sullivan 4)
Scotland came from behind to defeat Republic of Ireland at Tynecastle on Thursday night and leapfrog their opponents into second spot in Group Four. 
 
Two goals within less than a minute fired Anna Signeul's side into the play-off position going into the second half of the UEFA Women's Euro 2013 qualifying campaign. Rhonda Jones cancelled out Denise O'Sullivan's opener with just four minutes left on the clock and then, while the campaign-record 1,700 strong crowd was still celebrating, Christie Murray wrapped up the points with a stunning long range effort.
 
There was little to excite the enthusiastic support in the cagey opening exchanges. The optimism from the stands was tested when a 30-yard free kick hung in the air before being met by the head of Denise O'Sullivan to put the visitors ahead.
 
Scotland were dealt a further blow when Celtic striker Suzanne Grant hobbled off with a foot injury just 11 minutes into the game.
 
There were shades of October's 2-2 home draw with Wales as Scotland struggled to assert themselves. Probing balls from Rachael Small and Ifeoma Dieke were nullified by a well disciplined Republic of Ireland defence.
 
Scotland needed a spark, and Arsenal midfielder Kim Little did her best to provide it. A cute drop of the shoulder created space only for her shot to be blocked, while an audacious back heel had the Irish defence scambling. A direct run and cross was read well by goalkeeper Emma Byrne, one of three of Little's Arsenal team mates in the Republic of Ireland side.
 
Scotland came flying out of the blocks in the second half, playing with vibrancy and intent. It looked as though Scotland had grabbed the equaliser, but a Hayley Lauder cross was blocked at close range and took a cruel spin.
 
Scotland were gifted an opening on 58 minutes when Aine O'Gorman handled in the box. Up stepped spot kick expert Little, but her club team mate Byrne anticipated her preferred direction and saved low to her right.
 
Scotland should have equalised when a Leanne Ross shot was parried by Byrne, and the follow up from Jane Ross was also pushed onto the post.
 
Ireland were under the cosh as Scotland, buoyed by their vocal support, surged forward. Substitute Lisa Evans' long range effort was blocked, before Jane Ross fired wide. The pressure finally paid off when Jones connected with a Leanne Ross corner to beat Byrne with a powerful header.
 
Scotland's momentum continued when, barely a minute later, Murray latched on to the ball from the restart to smash home a 30-yard strike, her first goal for her country. 
 
Scotland: Gemma Fay, Rhonda Jones, Rachael Small, Ifeoma Dieke, Rachel Corsie, Joanne Love (sub Christie Murray 61mins), Hayley Lauder (sub Lisa Evans 64mins), Kim Little, Megan Sneddon, Suzanne Grant (sub Leanne Ross 11mins), Jane Ross. Subs not used: Shannon Lynn, Emma Fernon, Frankie Brown, Joelle Murray.

Republic of Ireland: Emma Byrne, Sophie Perry, Shannon McDonnell, Megan Campbell, Louise Quinn, Niamh Fahey, Ciara Grant, Aine O'Gorman, Shannon Smyth (sub Ruesha Littlejohn 88mins), Julie-Ann Russell (sub Michelle O'Brien 59mins), Denise O'Sullivan (sub Fiona O'Sullivan 74mins). Subs not used: Eve Badana, Yvonne Tracy, Diane Caldwell, Marie Curtin.

(www.scottishfa.co.uk)
 
 

 
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