Clydesdale Western off to flyer in Club Challenge II – Game 1 Review

Reports from Alanya provided by Patrick McAllister:

Clydesdale Western produced a sensational performance to come from behind against Austrian side SV Arminen and take maximum points from their opening match of EuroHockey Club Challenge II in Alanya, Turkey on Friday morning.

Despite conceding an opening quarter goal, Derek Forsyth’s side manufactured a stunning response with a goal each from Emma McGregor, Fiona Semple, Annabel Ballantyne and Heather O’Brien. O’Brien’s goal capped off a magnificent team display that gives ‘Dale Western an early advantage in Pool A going into Saturday morning’s clash with Stade Français of France. In Pool A’s other fixture, Stade Français lost 1-0 to Ukrainian side TSOP Kolos Boryspol.

Going into the match, Forsyth made the decision to go with more than 16 players in his squad, meaning goalkeepers Cara McAllister and Iona Colquhoun were both selected. Arminen arguably settled into the game quicker and their direct play caused concern for ‘Dale Western’s backline. And such concerns took its toll when the Austrian side took the lead from a counter attack which finished with a top corner strike past a helpless McAllister. McAllister did keep the score at 1-0 with a strong sliding save, whilst Arminen’s goalkeeper also kept out a stinging Clydesdale Western shot.

The Titwood girls drew level in the second quarter. Bronwyn Shields darted down the wing before moving the ball on to O’Brien who then squared the ball for a tap in for fellow forward McGregor. The L1s were nearly in front through skipper Frances Lonergan, but her short corner strike produced a superb piece of athleticism from Arminen’s ‘keeper courtesy of a full split save.

Into the second half and Clydesdale Western, for all their endeavour in searing heat, took a deserved lead. Fiona Semple deflected in a short corner move courtesy of a clean pass from teammate Karin Belch. The game was ebbing and flowing, but thankfully it was the L1s who grabbed the fourth goal of the game when a ball across the face of goal was tucked in by Ballantyne. Rosie Tudor was close to registering her name on the scoresheet after rounding the goalkeeper but her shot from an acute angle missed the goal and evaded any willing runners at the back post. But Clydesdale Western put the icing on the cake when O’Brien had the simplest of tasks to convert from close range to clinch a deserved maximum of five points.