It was a positive end to the women’s international window, as Scotland overcame Wales 1-0 at Parc Y Scarlets in the second of two challenge matches.
There were only three players who retained a starting spot after the result against Northern Ireland in Belfast last Friday, which ended with the same winning scoreline.
Claire Emslie was favoured in one of two forward spots, meanwhile Brianna Westrup earned her second cap after a commanding opening to her international career in the first game.
Lee Alexander was the third to keep her place, as she was once again preferred between the sticks.
Wales are one of the upcoming nations in the international game, and as such their ranking can be deceiving. The competitiveness between Home Nations sides can also be a leveller as well.
Their captain, Sophie Ingle, has been an integral part of the success seen this year at Chelsea, and a significant portion of their starting eleven also carry experience from other top-tier FAWSL sides in England.
The game felt as though it was comfortable for the most part, although there were few clear-cut chances created and things can never be too relaxed with only a single goal margin. It was, in this case, enough to ensure two wins from two.
The goal itself came from an error by the Welsh goalkeeper, Laura O’Sullivan, as Erin Cuthbert was handed a tap-in. The ball broke fortuitously as the keeper looked to be far too cute with what seemed like a simple back-pass, and that resulted in the ball breaking loose to Cuthbert with the goal gaping from 5 yards out.
We also kept our third clean sheet in four games this year, with several players being given an opportunity to pull on the dark blue jersey across those games. At the top level of the game, having that ruthlessness in both penalty boxes will continue to be crucial, and we have built some confidence that we can be defensively secure.
For the team, building a clinical element into our performances will be an important area for development. It would have been great to have managed to find a second goal in either game to put them to bed.
Finding a way to step it up a gear and really deflate the opposition is something which could be key in our upcoming World Cup qualification matches later this year and I felt we could have had a little more intent in the final twenty minutes.
Much of the squad will now be able to enjoy a short summer break, before pre-season picks up again in July for the forthcoming domestic seasons in both Scotland and England.
The next international window will come in September, where Scotland will embark on a journey to try to qualify for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
The opening match will be away to Hungary before a home tie against the Faroe Islands.
Scottish pair join up with Olympic team
Scotland’s Kim Little and Caroline Weir will join up with the Team GB Olympics squad in Loughborough in the coming days.
The intensive camp will be the first time the recently-selected team has been able to meet together, with less than six weeks to go before their opening match in Japan.
The team is expected to utilise purpose-built heat chambers at the state-of-the-art complex in England, in preparation for the extreme heat and humidity which is expected in Tokyo.
Meanwhile, Carli Lloyd became the oldest scoring American international in last few days, at 38 years and 264 days old. The World Champions beat Jamaica 4-0 during their own Olympic preparation camp.
Promotion won’t be enough for Aberdeen Women – they’ll want to seal SWPL 2 title
Aberdeen Women took another huge step towards clinching promotion during the week as they overcame St Johnstone 3-1.
The win increased the advantage maintained over last weekend, after Hamilton Accies failed to close the gap.
It was expected Aberdeen’s lead at the top of SWPL 2 would be cut, with the Dons having their weekend fixture postponed due to the international break, however, an unexpected 1-0 defeat for Hamilton, also against Saints, now means Aberdeen are six points clear with a game in hand.
Hamilton’s result has also means Dundee United have snuck into second place, with Accies and Partick Thistle trailing two points behind them. All three chasing teams only have four games remaining before everyone’s fate will be known.
While still in contention for promotion, Hamilton could be eliminated from the title race if Aberdeen were to come away winners on Sunday, as the sides meet at Cormack Park for the final time this season.
Aberdeen only need five points to secure promotion, but seven will be demanded by head coach Emma Hunter, who will be determined to ensure Aberdeen find a way to be deservedly crowned champions.
While the season has been a disrupted and challenging one, her side has been persistent in ensuring they have found a way to win when it has mattered most.
As the run-in heats up, Aberdeen will hope the form of Francesca Ogilvie continues, as she has been influential in recent proceedings. A double this week added to her hat-trick in the previous game’s 3-0 win, and the form of the Scotland youth international will have her likely catching the eye of some SWPL 1 teams.