Scotland lost out 5-0 and 3-1 to England in two friendly matches at Lilleshall, part of the build-up for the Champions Challenge in France and the European Nations Trophy in Ukraine later in the summer.
In the first match, Iain Scholefield injured an ankle even before the match started and plans had to be hastily changed by the Scotland management and England were four up at the interval. Scotland`s only chance to get on the scoresheet fell to a penalty corner by Daniel Coultas but his effort was blocked by the keeper.
Scotland showed more composure after the break, and a couple of half chances fell to Alan Forsyth and Gareth Hall, but the English scored a fifth in the final two minutes.
"We showed a more character in the second half, but we can`t afford to give teams such an easy time in the early stages," said Eugene Connolly, Scotland`s manager.
In yesterday`s second, encounter the Scots started strongly and in the first minute Gareth Hall almost opened the scoring but his goal-bound effort brought out the best in the English keeper. However, within five minutes Gordon McIntyre did give Scotland the lead, Gavin Byers created the opening with a powerful run up the right, his cross found the Glynhill Kelburne player whose shot from a narrow angle found the net off the post. Russell Garcia`s charges continued to control proceedings and further chances fell to Byres with a run and shot along with Callum Milne, but no further goals came from Scotland`s pressure.
With Scots keeper Mark Fulton virtually a spectator for most of the first half, the English stole an equaliser just on the interval, the Scots conceded a penalty stroke and the English took advantage from the spot.
England came out strongly in the second half, in 45 minutes they gained a rather harsh penalty corner and in a nice move sent the ball past Fulton. The Scots retaliated with an attack created by Gareth Hall, and although Wei Adams got a touch to his cross, it had not sufficient force to find the target. In 55 minutes the English made it three from open play, the Scots defence failed to clear a melee in the circle and as a result the bouncing ball was fired past Fulton. Scotland pressed to get back into the game, Hall launched the ball over the bar while Alan Forsyth`s effort went wide of the target, but in the end the English held on to their two goal advantage.
"There were a lot of positives in the first half, we kept possession well and looked good, but we allowed the English back into the game just before half-time, which they didn`t deserve. England were the better side in the second half, but it was a much better performance than the first game," said Eugene Connolly, Scotland`s manager.
Source: Scottish Hockey Union news
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