Vauxhall International Challenge Match
Scotland 1-1 Australia
Thursday,  April 9, 2015
Falkirk Stadium

Scotland gave an encouraging display as they held FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers Australia to a 1-1 draw at a sunny Falkirk Stadium.

A disappointing first-half, which saw Scotland miss a penalty and concede a scrappy goal was followed by an exciting second-half performance that showcased the team’s attacking flair and will give them confidence going into next week’s European Qualification Group Stage draw.

National Team Coach Anna Signeul opted to start with a 4-2-3-1 formation most recently seen at the Cyprus Cup – with Jane Ross occupying the striker’s role.

There was also a place for Lisa Evans, back in the squad after a spell on the sidelines and buoyed by the announcement of her summer move to Bayern Munich Ladies.

Scotland started quickly off the blocks. Hayley Lauder firing a volley just over after finding herself in space on the edge of the box in the game’s opening moments.

Australia are readying themselves for this summer’s FIFA World Cup and showed their prowess by carving out some good first-half chances. Scotland captain Gemma Fay proved to be a formidable opponent though – shutting out Michelle Heyman’s point blank shot before denying Lisa De Vanna with an excellent one-handed save on 18 minutes.

The home side were then offered a brilliant chance to take the lead on 20 minutes when a hand-ball was given in the box against Australia. Little stepped up hoping to score her 4th goal in two games but the spot-kick was well saved by Brianna Davey.

It was the first of a double-whammy for Scotland. Minutes after the miss an Australian corner created a goal-line scramble in the box, with Laura Alleway sneaking in to prod the ball home and give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

The away side’s advantage was almost doubled when Servet Uzunlar’s fine volley looked to be looping under the bar on the half hour mark. To the relief of the Scotland crowd Fay was able to stretch and tip the shot over.

Signeul’s team started the second-half strongly with some good play orchestrated down the flanks. The trio of Little, Evans and Ross were proving a particular nuisance and it was no surprised when two of the three combined for the equaliser.

A good surging run and pass from Evans sent Ross on her way into the box and the Vittsjo forward made no mistake, driving a right footed shot past Davey for her 36th goal in a Scotland shirt.

The goal was a just reward for Scotland’s fine second-half performance and seemed to give the team added impetus as they pushed for a winner in the spring sunshine. Leanne Crichton went closest, striking a long-range shot just over the bar on 65 minutes.

Australia weren’t out of it yet though and forced another fine Gemma Fay save 20 minutes before the end. This time it was van-Egmond’s looping volley that had to be tipped over by the skipper.

Kim Little thought she had netted the winner just minutes before the end when she pounced on a rebound. The linesman flag was raised though, much to the crowd and Kim’s dismay.

Scotland: Fay (C) (Lynn 78), Smith, Beattie, Dieke (Weir 72), Frankie Brown (Mitchell 62), Crichton, Corsie, Lauder (Love 62), Little, Evans (Fiona Brown 82), J.Ross

Subs: Cunningham (GK), Clelland, McSorley, Murray, Ross

Australia: Davey, Catley, Kennedy, Polias, Alleway, van-Egmond (C), Gorry, De Vanna, Foord, Uzunlar, Heyman.