Ireland and Scotland face battle for Euro survival

[img_assist|nid=8553|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=75|height=100]Ireland and Scotland clash on Saturday morning with the winner to avoid relegation from the European Hockey Championships.

If the game is a draw Scotland’s women will retain their place in Europe’s top level competition for 2015 when it will be played in London.

Spain are safe in the championship after today’s 1-0 defeat of Ireland while Scotland’s 3-2 defeat of Belarus leaves them with one more goal than the Irish in the relegation pool.

That extra goal will come into play if the sides draw on Saturday in Boom, Belgium (9am).

Against Ireland, Spain struck in the 19th minute with a rasping reverse-stick shot from Berta Bonastre. Ireland then struggled to penetrate in a match that produced few highlights – apart from another Nicola Symmons corner save on the line for Ireland.

Scotland raced to a 3-0 half-time lead thanks to a neat Holly Cram corner deflection (22mins) followed by goals to Nikki LLoyd and the industrious Vikki Bunce.

But the wheels rather woryingly fell off as they conceded a corner goal in the 43rd minute (Volha Shyyntar)and a stroke in the 55th (Yuliya Mikheichyk).

That set up an unneccesarily nailbiting finish where Scotland’s lack of composure under pressure could have ended any hopes of avoiding relegation.