Women’s Belfius EuroHockey Championships
Pool C: Ireland 3 (N Evans, S Hawkshaw, K Mullan) Russia 2 (B Sadovaia, A Leonova)
Ireland completed their third win of Pool C to equal their best-ever European Championship finish, a fifth place outcome courtesy of a 3-2 win on the final day in Antwerp.
They trailed 1-0 at half-time but three battling goals from Nikki Evans, Sarah Hawkshaw and Katie Mullan got them over the line in the end 3-2 despite corner goals from Bogdana Sadovaia and Aleksandra Leonova.
After a quiet first 20 minutes with play mainly between the two 23 metre lines, the game burst into life in the latter part of the half. Katie Mullan managed to split the Russian centre-backs and deflect one of their passes at goal but Viktoriia Aleksandrina saved well. Nikki Evans put the follow-up wide.
Within a minute, Bogdana Sadovaia scored her third goal in two games with a low corner push past Ayeisha McFerran’s stick side for 1-0.
Two good interchanges between Deirdre Duke and Mullan led to a couple of good chances which were not taken while Lizzie Colvin miscued when well placed on the half-time hooter.
Ireland equalised two minutes into the second half when Zoe Wilson’s long ball found Nikki Evans all alone at the top of the D. She took her time before eventually sweeping home in off a defender’s body.
And the Green Army went 2-1 ahead with 10 minutes to go from another long ball out, picking out Evans in the circle. She slipped the ball under her arm to Sarah Hawkshaw whose dummy sent the goalkeeper the wrong way.
Russia equalised for 2-2 in the 52nd minute from a penalty corner rebound from Aleksandra Leonova. Nicci Daly hit the post from an Anna O’Flanagan pass but they did get the lead back with three minutes to go when Mullan pounced on a loose ball behind the goalkeeper.
Ireland – Russia
23’ Bogdana Sadovaia (PC) 0-1
32’ Nikki Evans (FG) 1-1
50’ Sarah Hawkshaw (FG) 2-1
52’ Aleksandra Leonova (PC) 2-2
57’ Katie Mullan (FG) 3-2