Ross and Evans on the score sheet in impressive win
Women’s International Challenge Matches
Scotland 2-0 New Zealand
Pinatar Football Arena, San Pedro del Pinatar
Saturday, 3 March 2018, 4pm (UK time)
Scotland: Jane Ross (34), Lisa Evans (79)
Shelley Kerr’s side started their double header of matches against New Zealand with a comprehensive 2-0 victory.
Jane Ross took the lead for Scotland and in the second period Lisa Evans scored the second while they also had a number of other chances to increase their goal tally.
At the other end, Scotland defended resolutely and withstood some strong spells of New Zealand pressure.
Jen Beattie started her second consecutive match and fresh from being named as one of 55 players on the FIFPRO World XI shortlist, Caroline Weir partnered Christie Murray in midfield as Shelley Kerr operated a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Scotland were the most dominant side in the first half and nearly took the lead within the first few moments when Sophie Howard poked the ball over top of the goal from a corner.
Erin Cuthbert and Lisa Evans both tested the keeper before Jane Ross hit the back of the net and the game began to work in Scotland’s favour.
On 32 minutes Ross headed the ball over the bar but two minutes later she found the target when a block from the goalkeeper fell to the Manchester City striker who powered the ball home.
As the half drew to a close, Scotland started to turn the screw and Claire Emslie forced a smart save from the goalkeeper as they looked to double the score.
Scotland started the second half as they ended the first and were immediately in the ascendancy.
Lisa Evans had a header fly over the crossbar and then after 62 minutes Caroline Weir nearly made it two when she slammed the ball off the crossbar from outside the box.
After 67 minutes New Zealand hit the crossbar with their first real chance of the game as Anna Green smashed a ferocious drive from inside the area.
That sparked a brief spell of New Zealand pressure and Lee Alexander kept Scotland’s noses in front when she pulled off a point blank save with her foot to touch the ball onto the post.
Sophie Howard and Jen Beattie formed a solid partnership at the heart of the defence and looked comfortable under the pressure applied by the New Zealand attacking line.
In the second half Rachel Corsie returned from injury to replace Beattie.
With 12 minutes of the game remaining Scotland sealed the win when Erin Cuthbert took advantage of indecision in the New Zealand rear guard to steal the ball and pass to Evans. The Arsenal winger was then on hand to slot calmly into the back of the net.
As the game edged to a close, Durham striker Zoe Ness made her debut, coming off the bench to replace Erin Cuthbert up front.
Shelley Kerr said: “I thought we were excellent and started the game off really well. We knew they would be physical and in the past we’ve maybe not managed to cope as well with that as we did tonight.
“We mixed up our game and had a really good variation in attack.
“Defensively we were solid with Sophie and Jen and that gave us the foundation to attack, which we did really well.
“Sophie Howard has now played three games in a row and is just growing and growing with confidence. She’s still young as well.
“Zoe Ness made her debut and she is another young player who has impressed. She is very physical and has trained very well.
“We had players on the bench tonight with over 100 caps that didn’t get on and that just shows you the competitive environment we’re creating.”
Scotland will play New Zealand again on Tuesday 6 March, kick-off 10am (UK time) .
Following that double header, the World Cup qualification campaign begins in April where they will face Switzerland away from home and Poland at the Paisley 2021 Stadium in a double header.
Scotland: Alexander, Arthur, Howard, Beattie (C) (Corsie, 71), Lauder, Murray, Weir, Ross, Evans, Emslie (Fiona Brown, 71), Cuthbert (Ness, 78)
Unused substitutes: Lynn, Fife, Frankie Brown, Love, Crichton, McLauchlan, Grant, Smith, Graham