A late goal put paid to the Shetland hockey team’s hopes in the Scottish District Cup as they went out to Perthshire in the third round of the competition.
Perthshire 1, Shetland 0
The sun was shining at the Aberdeen Sports Village and Perthshire won the toss and started with the pass back. This, however, was quickly intercepted by the Shetland midfield and within the first minute Gayle Johnson broke down the left wing. She beat her marker and found Sarah Grogan who linked well with Zoe Irvine to provide the first test for Perthshire goalie Anna Gourlay.
In the sixth minute Perth managed to break into the Shetland D but this was defended well by Nicola Blance, ensuring nothing was going to get past her. Shetland were back on the attack from the turnover and won the first penalty corner of the game. Josie Jamieson took the strike but this was saved by the keeper and cleared for a corner.
Shetland drove on from here and won another penalty corner. This time Jamieson tested the goalie with a flick on target but the keeper again managed to beat it away for another corner.
Shetland had the Perthshire team camped in their own half now and 20 minutes on they were awarded four more penalty corners in a very strong period. Unfortunately they could not find a way past the goalie.
In the 30th minute Perthshire were finally able to relieve the pressure and they won two quick penalty corners. These were well dealt with well by the Shetland defence of Toni Sidgwick, Maree Simpson, Fiona Dally, Nicola Blance and captain Maggie Irvine.
Shetland finished this half the way they started, in Perthshire’s half, with good moves from Brenda Leask and Stacey Laurenson playing through to Zoe Irvine who was stopped by the on-rushing goalie.
The second half started with Shetland continuing to move the ball around neatly and attack the Perthshire defence. Zoe Irvine was able to break through and cut the ball back from the back line but it was hit wide of the target.
Josie Jamieson took the ball from the right and cut inside across the top of the D and got her shot away but this was well defended by the very impressive Siobhan Penman in the Perth defence.
Shetland kept the pressure on, winning corners, and with good play from Jamieson set up a nice one-two with Laurenson but this strike on goal was again cleared.
Midway through the half the game started being more of a battle for possession in the middle of the pitch, with captain Irvine playing a major part in intercepting play and bringing her team forward.
Shetland were to win another couple of corners with Zoe Irvine always looking dangerous in the circle, but this was well closed down by two defenders.
Twenty minutes into the half Perth were able to break through the Shetland press with a great ball from Penman, but Maggie Irvine was there again to intercept.
A misplaced pass by Shetland allowed Perth to get in the Shetland D but Sidgwick was there to make the save. Shetland broke down the left from the clearance with Brenda Leask finding Victoria Duthie who was able to make her way into the Perth goalmouth and win a penalty corner in the 57 minute. Jamieson struck the ball and after a scramble in the D the keeper managed to clear the ball out off the back line before Duthie could have a shot on goal.
Two minutes later there was a roar from the Shetland support as they watched the ball hit the Perthshire backboard, but unfortunately none of the Shetland forwards could get the touch needed to make it count.
A minute later Josie Jamieson was able to intercept a pass and break free for one on one with the goalie but unfortunately slipped. Perthshire broke again but found Fiona Dally dependable and calm at the back to make the tackle count.
Maree Simpson was working hard to keep the right side clear of danger and she fed some great balls through to Stacey Laurenson who was able to win yet another corner, which Perthshire managed to clear.
Jillian Copland was playing some great balls through to the forwards from the middle of the pitch but with four minutes to go Perth broke and won a penalty corner. Realising this was one of their last chances for a goal they gathered their strongest players, calling on some of their defence to come up for it.
The ball was pushed out and the shot on goal was taken. This deflected up off a stick and was saved by Sidgwick but span off and over the defenders on the line, giving Perth the 1-0 lead.
Shetland dug deep and gave a big push in the last few minutes. The pressure resulted in Zoe Irvine winning the last penalty corner of the game. The corner was taken and but unfortunately Jamieson’s shot went just inches of the left hand post.
Shetland coach Peter Sharp said: “After Shetland played so well and with most of the play in the Perthshire half, this was an extremely hard one to take, but we all agree that this has been a great experience and the team never looked out their depth in this competition.
“We now look forward to taking part again next year. The team would like to thank DITT and NorthLink for sponsoring us through the competition, helping making taking part possible. Also thanks must go to all the supporters that made it along to cheer the team on.”