Norway breached Scotland’s defence with fifteen minutes to play at Oriam on Saturday, helping them to a 1-0 victory that keeps their hopes of qualifying for the Women’s U17s European Finals in Bulgaria alive. The scoreline, and scrambled nature of the goal, were a fair reflection of a game the visitor’s edged but will give Scotland some heart.
Prior to kick-off the Norwegian fans and players were in good voice, and their team started the game with the majority of possession. Their formation, with wingers Oda Amland Edvartsen and Laura Gashi right on the touchlines, forced disciplined shuffling defence from the Scots, and an early injection of pace from Edvartsen foreshadowed a future danger. Nonetheless, the early exchanges did not produce any shots.
When an effort did come, on 18 minutes, it was from Scotland. A bundling run by Kate Nicolson ended with possession at the feet of Kathleen McGovern, who hit not overly high and wide of the top right corner. Norway’s response was positive. A beautiful lofted pass from the centre circle by Mille Aune isolated Edvartsen against fullback Philippa McCallum, and when the cross arrived both Siri Oline Berg-Johansen and Joshualyn Favour Revees had slipped their markers. The latter volleyed wide.
Yet by the middle of the half Scotland had fully grown into the game. A Nicholson free kick from distance dipped a little too late, and another free kick - an inswinger from the right by McCallum - could have caused serious consternation if Nicolson had been able to make stronger contact. The Norwegians were beginning to lose a little shape, but still offered glimpses of danger. A great covering challenge by Chloe Warrington was required to end a swift break devised by Gashi and Berg-Johansen.