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Scotland go down to narrow defeat
 Women's Football News 30 May 2008
Scotland go down to narrow defeat - 30 May 2008 - Women's Football NewsScotland were narrowly beaten 1-0 by Ukraine in a closely matched, and highly competitive UEFA Women's Championship qualifying game at McDiarmid Park. 
The visitors started the game brightly and stunned Scotland by grabbing an early goal, with Daria Apanashchenko knocking the ball into the net after a scramble in the box in the eighth minute. A few minutes later, Blackburn's Pauline Hamill whipped a great cross into the box, only for Ukraine to clear.
Scotland began to take control of the game and enjoyed the bulk of the first half possession, but without creating many clear cut chances.
17-year-old Celtic midfielder Jennifer Beattie and Natalie Ross of Hibernian combined well on the left wing and embarked on a number of driving runs. Beattie had one of the best chances of the half with a long range effort on 21 minutes, which floated just wide. A few minutes later, captain Julie Fleeting also sent the ball wide after a good build up, with Scotland exchanging some neat passes in the middle of the park.
Ukraine - who have now won five out of five in their qualifying campaign - always looked dangerous on the counter attack, and had chances to build on their lead, but Tennent's Player of the Match Ifeoma Dieke and Michelle Kerr foiled most of their advances.
Goalkeeper Gemma Fay had to look lively to tip a shot from Svitlana Frishko around the post in the 22nd minute and minutes later Joanne Love cleared from the advancing Lyudmyla Pekur, who was pulling the strings in most of the Ukraine attacks.
Scotland came flying out of the traps in the second half, winning a corner within the first minute and Beattie firing over the bar. Scotland were pouring forward as they looked for the vital equaliser and had a strong penalty claim dismissed when Natalie Ross went down under pressure in the box.
Kim Little was finding space on the right wing, and had a good shot saved in the 70th minute, but many of Scotland's advances broke down in a stop-start half that was often interrupted by the referee's whistle.
Ukraine continued to look sharp going forward, and looked to have sealed their win when the ball hit the back of the net in the 83rd minute, but the offside flag was raised.
The defeat leaves Scotland eight points behind second placed Ukraine in Group Five. A win in the final game against Slovakia on 28th September would secure third spot and leave Scotland with a chance of qualifying for a play-off place, depending on results in other groups. (www.scottishfa.co.uk)
Scotland: Gemma Fay, Leanne Ross, Natalie Ross, Ifeoma Dieke, Michelle Kerr, Joanne Love, Kim Little, Megan Sneddon, Julie Fleeting, Pauline Hamill (sub Suzanne Grant 77mins), Jennifer Beattie (sub Stacey Cook 86mins).

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