Three victories on the trot and pole position in pool B is exactly what Scotland coach Keith Joss had ordered as his charges disposed of Russia 3-1 in the European Nations Trophy in Lithuania. The Scots now march into a crucial semi-final tie with Belgium on Friday, the prize for the victor here is promotion to the elite Championship level.
The Scots took an early lead when a direct strike by Western`s Catriona Forrest flew low past the stranded Russian goalkeeper. Then an intricate passing move created the opening for Nikki Kidd on the base-line, her square pass found Grove teammate Linda Clement and the Scottish captain volleyed the ball into the roof of the net. The Scots continued to dominate with a free flowing style of play that left the Russians chasing shadows, but all too often the final pass went astray.
The Russians came at the Scots after the interval and they got a whiff of success when a fortuitous deflection eluded two defenders leaving goalkeeper Carmin Dow with little chance from a low drive. The Russian`s tails were up and a turning point came when Dow was called upon twice to frustrate Russian attempts at penalty corners. The result was sealed at Scotland`s third penalty corner, a Catriona Forrest dummy deceived the Russian defence and found Cheryl Valentine, she passed the ball on to Louise Carroll who finished with a low volley.
A delighted Keith Joss said: "I was very happy with the standard of performance today, I felt we controlled the game throughout and now look forward to our confrontation with the Belgians in the semis."
photos Janos Schmidt