Irish women are beaten by Belarus
Updated: Tuesday, 26 Feb 2013 15:03
The Irish women’s hockey team suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Belarus in their second game at World League Two in Valencia, Spain.
Ireland paid the price for too many unforced errors and a lack of ability to finish off chances against a dogged & determined Belarus side.
Belarus had the better of a first half without really creating many clear cut scoring opportunities.
Darren Smith's side 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 as first half ended 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 them.
Ireland managed to win a number of early short corners thanks to good play from UCD pair O’Flanagan and Evans but they were unable to make them count.
The Irish turnover of the ball 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 one-on-one with Ireland goalkeeper 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.
Belarus 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, 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 against Spain."
Ireland will have a three day break to recharge the batteries and put some work in on the training field before two crucial World League Two games this weekend against Spain and Italy
Electric Ireland Irish Women Starting XI: E. Gray, N. Gray, Sargent, Atcheler, O’Flynn, Watkins, Symmons, Smyth, Evans, Speers, Jacob