Belarus 2 (Batura, Strayezhka) beat Ireland 0
The Electric Ireland Irish Women’s team suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Belarus in their 2nd game at World League 2 in Valencia, Spain.
Ireland paid the price today for too many unforced errors and a lack of ability to finish off chances vs. a dogged & determined Belarus side. Belarus had the better of a first half without really creating many clear cut scoring opportunities. The Green Army were guilty on a number of occasions of turning the ball over in the middle of the field and failed to find any real rhythm to their play in the opening period. The sides headed for the break with the scores level at 0-0.
Ireland began the second half with renewed energy however in this period, it was the finishing in front of goal which made life difficult for the Green Army. Ireland managed to win a number of early short corners thanks to good play from UCD pair O’Flanagan & Evans to win penalty corners which Ireland couldn’t convert. Ireland’s turnover of the ball certainly improved in the half but one particular lapse of concentration saw Belarus nick the ball back and slide the ball just inches wide in a 1v1 with Ireland keeper Emma Gray.
Belarus edged themselves in front with 15 minutes to go when Batura deflected a penalty corner past the helpless Gray in the Irish goal. It was a body blow to the Green Army who kept working hard in an effort to pull back the deficit but the urgency & efficiency of their second half performance vs. Czech Republic yesterday was missing.
Belarus to their credit, kept their foot on the gas for the remaining minutes and extended their lead to 2-0 in the dying minutes following a succession of penalty corners that was eventually finished off by Strayezhka.
Speaking to hockey.ie following the game, Electric Ireland Irish Women’s Coach Darren Smith said “we started tentatively and got a bit too anxious when we went behind. Penalty corners proved to be the difference, with the Belarus team converting two of theirs while our chances went a begging. We will have to do our homework well now to get a good result from our next match v Spain”
Ireland will have a 3 day break to recharge the batteries and put some work in on the training field before two crucial World League 2 games this weekend vs. Spain & Italy
World League 2 Results & Fixtures – Valencia, Spain (All times local)
25/02/2012 Ireland 4-1 Czech Republic
26/02/2012 Ireland 0-2 Belarus
02/03/2012 Ireland v Spain (1:00pm)
03/03/2012 Ireland v Italy (11:00am)