Much-changed Scotland remain without a win and rooted to the bottom of Nations League Group A1 following their second defeat by the Netherlands in four days.
Pedro Martinez Losa’s side nullified and frustrated the Dutch for an hour, but Esmee Brugts – who scored the second goal in Friday’s 4-0 thumping – beat debutant Sandy MacIver in the Scotland goal with a tremendous strike from 20 yards.
In a slow-tempo affair, Scotland failed to test Daphne van Domselaar in the away goal to send any Halloween spooks in the Dutch direction as their winless run stretches to four games.
Netherlands remain top of the group, but Scotland’s position looks even more precarious with Belgium defeating England 3-2 in Leuven.
They lie five points adrift of the Auld Enemy and must win their remaining two games to have any hope of avoiding automatic relegation from the new competition’s top tier.
A reaction was required following the sobering night in Nijmegen on Friday and, while that didn’t exactly come in the form of flying out of the traps, there was a noticeable increase in composure among the Scottish ranks.
Erin Cuthbert said yesterday she wasn’t the “magic potion”, but her return was seismic in a midfield that enjoyed dominant phases, albeit without troubling the Dutch.
MacIver incredibly touched a dangerous free-kick from Sherida Spitse on to the crossbar, but she had little to do otherwise in the first hour of her Scotland debut.
Cruelly, there wasn’t an awful lot she could have done for the opener either.
The classy Barcelona forward, who had been saliently silent until then, peeled off Lisa Evans to unleash a neat finish while cutting in from the left.
The floodgates that opened on Friday failed to reappear, but it was another 90 minutes where Scotland lacked creativity in the attacking areas.
Player of the match – Erin Cuthbert
Gap narrowed but far from closed – analysis
Vast improvements were made in a short period of time. That was a much more Scotland-esque performance.
The emphasis is being put on Erin Cuthbert’s return, but with reason. The calmness, composure and little bit of class that was missing in abundance on Friday was brought by the Chelsea midfielder.
A magician, as she said herself, though, she is not. Even on Halloween.
At this level, Scotland just do not have the threat required to trouble these top sides.
Defensively, they were much more solid, which will please all involved after the four capitulations at the back on Friday.
The gap that was monstrous four days ago has certainly been bridged in a short period of time, but as was the case then, missing three world-class players against world-class opposition was just too big a mountain to climb again.
What they said
Scotland head coach Pedro Martinez Losa: “The team were very good. The plan that we discussed with the players worked. We were capable of containing the opponent more, defending their patterns, but still they showed the level they have.
“We can be a little more clinical and effective in the final third. The team did a good job to balance the game compared to Friday.”
- 5HowardBooked at 27mins
- 15ClarkBooked at 51mins
- 11EvansSubstituted forNapierat 72′minutes
- 6MacLeanSubstituted forSmithat 81′minutes
- 22CuthbertSubstituted forGrimshawat 61′minutes
- 10HansonSubstituted forDavidsonat 72′minutes
- 18EmslieSubstituted forThomasat 61′minutes
- 1van Domselaar
- 3DijkstraBooked at 53mins
- 10van de DonkSubstituted forKapteinat 72′minutes
- 22BrugtsSubstituted forWilmsat 85′minutes
- 7BeerensteynSubstituted forSnoeijsat 85′minutes
- 11MartensSubstituted forEgurrolaat 33′minutes
- 5van Dongen