England's hard toil

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The Independent Online

England 3

Scotland 0

England continued their European Cup build-up for next month's championship in Dublin with a workmanlike win against Scotland yesterday in a Four Nations tournament at Bisham Abbey, but it was a far from fluent performance against a defensive Scottish side who lacked imagination.

For a long time it looked as if only a penalty corner strike from Calum Giles would separate the sides. As in Brussels last weekend, Giles, who is only brought on at corners, brilliantly converted his first with a powerful drag shot.

Thereafter England toiled to overcome a Scottish defence in which Alastair Seaton made a series of useful saves, including a reflex one from his Old Loughtonian club colleague, Nick Thompson. With David Leiper sweeping up confidently behind a wall of Scottish defenders, England's attack was numbed until Kalbir Takher claimed England's second goal from a Rob Thompson cross in the 50th minute.

Scotland's best chance came eight minutes from time when Julian Halls' careless clearance was deflected goalwards by Steve Grubb to bring a smart reaction save from David Luckes.

Rob Thompson, with the final touch of the game, scored England's third in a goalmouth melee. Today England play Spain, who yesterday had a goalless draw against Canada, in a game which should provide a truer picture of England's European Cup prospects as both teams are expected to reach the semi-finals.

ENGLAND: S Mason; J Halls, P McGuire; J Wyatt, Soma Singh (capt), R Garcia; C Mayer, J Shaw, R Thompson, J Laslett, N Thompson. Substitutes used: C Giles, B Sharpe, D Luckes, Kalbir Takher, S Hazlitt.

SCOTLAND: A Seaton; D Leiper; D Low (capt), M Zander, D Johnson; J Cox, D Fowler, C Hector, D Ralph; R Freeland, J Mills. Substitutes used: G Moore, S Grubb, G Shepherd.

Umpires: A Morales (Sp) and A Hoyes (Eng).