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Spirited Scotland defeated in International Challenge match thriller

Scotland 1

Robb, 75'

Finland 2

Snygg, 46', Lehtila, 66'

Rafie Thompson | YFS South East Region Journalist
Author's Bio | Articles by Author | [email protected]

It was the Scotland Girls 16s who ended up on the wrong side of a 2-1 score-line against Finland in the Vauxhall International Challenge match at Ainslie Park. Led by Shannon-Leigh Nayle, Scotland were up for the fight but two great goals from Nea Snygg and Nely Lehtilä left them with work to do. The Tartan Army pulled one back through Megan Robb, but it was too late for the Blues to go for the draw.
Finland started brightly and their first real chance came after five minutes with Eerika Hämäläinen heading wide of the right post after an in-swinging corner from Emelie Smirnoff.
Scotland reacted well to Finland’s start and two minutes later Abby Callaghan had a chance. Her shot to the near post from the right was well saved by the Finland number one.
The away side’s possession-based style of play was benefiting them as they upped the pressure. A free-kick from 30 yards was struck over the bar by Smirnoff and not long after Roosa Tuominen shot narrowly wide of the right post from 18 yards just past the 20-minute mark.
The home team were playing well defensively as they managed to restrict the away side to long ranged shots and Milla Partanen was the next to have a go with her effort flying past the right post from 20 yards.
Defence was on top for both Scotland and Finland with chances few and far between. Half time saw the teams deadlocked and it was going to take a special moment to unlock either back-line.
Finland were quick to start the second half and they finally broke through Scotland’s defence with Nea Snygg. Partanen’s curling free-kick was met by the head of the striker and her well placed header went past the ‘keeper and into the bottom left corner with 46 minutes on the clock.
Callaghan led the team from the front and Scotland’s high work rate and determination saw them react well to going down. The number 10 was unlucky to shoot over the bar after a swift counter-attacking move from Scotland and soon after she was unlucky to see her ball across the box smothered by the ‘keeper.
Despite Scotland’s spirit, Finland doubled their lead through a great strike from Nelly Lehtilä with 66 minutes gone. From all of 30 yards her powerful drive smashed the top right of the net with aplomb despite ‘keeper Kiera Gibson’s best efforts.
Again, Scotland reacted positively. This time Kirsten Laing got into a good position but her shot from range was comfortably saved by the opposition ‘keeper.
The game began to open up as they entered the last ten minutes and Finland nearly went three up through Smirnoff. Her shot from the right narrowly going wide of the left post.
With five minutes to go, Scotland set themselves up for an exciting finish as they pulled one back through winger Megan Robb. After great perseverance from Callaghan which saw her win the ball back in the opposition third she drove into the box and unselfishly laid the ball off for Robb who emphatically finished into the top of the net off the underside of the bar.
Scotland turned up the heat with the chance of a draw in sight. A free-kick from a promising position right on the edge of the area gave the Blues hope in the last minute. Leah Eddie laid off the ball to Kirstie McIntosh in a practised free-kick routine, but her shot was blocked and her rebounded effort went agonisingly over the bar.
With only a few minutes left Finland were under large pressure. Scotland won a corner and the in-swinging cross was only just cleared by the opposition defence. That was not the end though, yet another corner was won but unfortunately for Scotland, the ball was cleared and the referee blew for full time with the score at 2-1.


1. Kiera Gibson
2. Lindsey Blues
3. Courtney Otto
4. Brogan Molloy
5. Shannon-Leigh Nayle (C)
6. Leah Eddie
7. Julia Dunn
8. Kirstie McIntosh
9. Fern Newbigging
10. Abby Callaghan
11. Chloe Muir
12. Rebecca Cameron
13. Bethany McPherson
14. Megan Robb
15. Monica Anderson
16. Kirsten Laing
17. Ellie Kane
18. Aliye Stewart
1. Katriina Talaslahti
2. Eerika Hamalainen
3. Kiira Lehtonen
4. Filippa Kilponen
5. Sanni Ojanen
6. Daniela Tiainen
7. Matilda Heikkila
8. Milla Partanen
9. Roosa Tuominen
10. Vera Kusmin
11. Nea Snygg
12. Riina Isokaanta
13. Karoliina Autio
14.Emelie Smirnoff
15. Jasmin Lindell
16. Eveliina Kotro
17. Nely Lehtila
18. Saana Hartikainen
Star Player
Abby Callaghan - Never stopped working for her country. Her hard work and determination was epitomised through her assist to Robb's goal. Won the ball back through perseverance and unselfishly laid off to her team-mate. Led her team from the front never leaving the opposition defence alone.
Milla Partanen -Milla completely dictated the tempo of the game for Finland in her midfield role. She played a large part in keeping Finland's possession style of play successful and every pass she made created something for her team. Great awareness and vision.
Magic Moment
Robb's goal. It was great for Scotland to get something out of the game for all their graft. Robb's goal gave the team hope and spurred them on for an exciting finish as they looked to go for the draw.
Lehtila's Goal. An unstoppable drive from 30 yards, not many saw this coming. Her technique and power saw the Scotland 'keeper beaten and it was a great goal.

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