Written by Campbell Finlayson
Scotland ensured they will head off to the World Cup in a winning mood after an entertaining victory over Jamaica in front of a record crowd at Hampden Park. A total of 18,555 spectators watched the national side’s final match before they fly out to France and they were treated to a fantastic spectacle, with goals from Erin Cuthbert, Caroline Weir and Sophie Howard helping the Scots to the win.
The home side began brightly in front of the large home support but Jamaica grew into the game and took the lead with the first real chance of the match on 15 minutes. Rachel Corsie was strong in the tackle on Havana Solaun, however, the ball broke free for Khadija Shaw who worked some space before firing the ball high past Lee Alexander.
There was almost an immediate response from Scotland when the ball broke to Caroline Weir in the box but her strike was deflected just wide by Chantel Swaby. Weir came close again when her shot took another deflection and had to be parried away by Sydney Schneider before Erin Cuthbert failed to connect properly with a volley which drifted wide.
Kim Little was next to have an attempt for the hosts, racing onto the end of a clever flick from Jane Ross before seeing her strike saved by Schneider.
It wasn’t long though before Scotland did equalise and they did in some style, Erin Cuthbert picking the ball up in space before sending a 30-yard shot into the top corner of the net.
Just three minutes later the hosts went in front with another spectacular effort. Cuthbert was felled right on the edge of the area with Weir sending the resultant free kick flying beyond Schneider.
Jamaica, also making their World Cup debut next month, weren’t deflated with the quick-fire goals and came forward in search of the game’s fourth goal, Solaun’s effort from a Trudi Carter cross missing the target. Cheyna Matthews fired the ball right across the face of goal at the end of the half, as the ‘Reggae Girlz’ showed the Scots they weren’t going to go down easily.
That proved even more true four minutes into the second half when the visitors levelled the scores once more. Sophie Howard’s first touch was heavy, allowing Shaw to steal the ball before racing in on goal and cleverly lifting the ball over Alexander.
Lisa Evans should have done better when Cuthbert’s cross found her in space in the box, but her header was wayward. The winger was adamant Scotland should have had a penalty when her cross came off a defender’s hand but a corner was given instead.
From the set-piece however, Shelley Kerr’s side moved ahead once more. Weir’s cross to the back post found the unmarked Howard whose looping header found the corner to make it 3-2.
Some great link up play between Evans and Little presented Lizzie Arnot with a chance, however the winger’s effort was tame and easily held by sub goalkeeper Nicole McClure.
Jamaica needed penalties to beat Panama and secure their place at the World Cup but they made life tough for Scotland and Alexander had to remain alert to stop a low Kayla McCoy shot at her near post.
In the end though, the Scots held out and will be full of confidence ahead of their tournament opener against England in Nice on June 9th.
Scotland: Alexander; Smith, Corsie, Beattie (Howard, 46), Docherty (Lauder, 80); Little, Weir; Evans, Cuthbert (Clelland, 80), Emslie (Arnot, 46); Ross (Murray, 46)
Jamaica: Schneider (McClure, 46); A. Swaby (Asher, 63), Bond-Flasza (Campbell, 46), Plummer, Blackwood; C. Swaby, Sweatman; Matthews (Brown, 63), Solaun, Carter (Cameron, 80); Shaw (McCoy, 69)
Post-match interview with SWNT Midfielder, Caroline Weir