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Tuesday 10 Mar 2020
Pinatar Cup | Northern Ireland edged out by tournament winners Scotland

Northern Ireland senior women were edged out by Scotland in their final game of the Pinatar Cup in Spain on Tuesday night.

The Scots came back from a goal down to win the game at the Pinatar Arena in Murcia, putting the gloss on their tournament victory.

It had all started so brightly with Liverpool player Rachel Furness powering home a header from Lauren Wade’s cross to put Northern Ireland one up with five minutes on the clock.

Erin Cuthbert drew Scotland level on 33 minutes with a mesmerising strike from distance. Her blistering right-foot shot from 20 yards deceived keeper Jackie Burns as it moved in the air from left to right before flashing into the net.

Five minutes later the Scots were in front. This time it was Abbi Grant who converted - finding the bottom corner - after she pounced on a rare defensive lapse by Julie Nelson.

Kenny Shiels introduced Megan Bell at the interval in bid to strengthen his side's attacking threat and provide support for the industrious Simone Magill.

Lucy Graham forced a good stop from Burns early in the second session and Northern Ireland made themselves hard to break down with some resolute defending and intelligent possession play keeping the Scots at bay.

Cuthbert tried her luck from distance on two further occasions but unlike her opener she couldn’t find her range.

Shiels rang further changes with Rachel Newborough replacing Emma McMaster and young guns Toni-Leigh Finnegan and Caitlin McGuinness entering the fray in place of Ashley Hutton and Magill.

Martha Thomas could have added a third for Scotland but, with a little over 10 minutes left on the clock, she stumbled over the ball when she was through on goal.

Northern Ireland’s next game is a UEFA Women’s Euro qualifier away to Belarus which is scheduled to be played on 14 April.

Northern Ireland: Burns, McMaster (Newborough 57’), Hutton (Finnegan 85’), Nelson, Vance, McFadden (c), Furness, McKenna (Bell 45’), Wade (Callaghan 77’), Magill (McGuinness 85’), McCarron. Unused subs: Crooks (GK), Burrows, Maxwell, Howe.