Railway unbeaten after day one in Porto

Railway Union came from 2-0 down in the last five minutes against Georgian outfit Ukimerioni Kutaisi to end day one of their EuroHockey Challenge I unbeaten.

They opened their tournament with a closely fought 2-1 win over Swedish side Partille SC. Despite winning seven corners to Partille’s two, Railway scored from just their first of these, Orla Fox opening the scoring in the first quarter.

The rest of the goals came in the second quarter, Partille equalising from a stroke after Railway’s captain Holly Jenkinson saved a corner with her body on the line.

The Irish side replied with their moment of the day, the winning goal on the half time whistle from a court length move involving Jenkinson playing it off the boards in the right corner and then working a great exchange with Kate McKenna and Kate Dillon with the latter finishing off.

The second half was a goalless affair but high in tension as Railway led by such a narrow margin. They won a series of corners but were unable to convert and it meant the game was in the balance until the end as both teams had goals disallowed for preceding fouls and Orla Fox saved off the line for Railway from a Partille corner.

Game two looked to be slipping out of their grasp against a Georgian side who won game one 6-0 against Portugal’s Viso.

Again, Railway created many goal scoring opportunities, winning eight corners to Kutaisi’s four but were unable to convert and they fell behind in the first quarter.

Kutaisi went further ahead in the third quarter, scoring on a counter attack after Kate Dillon’s goal scoring opportunity was snuffed out. Holly Jenkinson took a Kutaisi corner shot off the line to leave Railway two goals down going into the last 10 minute period.

Halfway through the last quarter, Cecelia Joyce reverse flicked a ball high into the Kutaisi goal to half the gap. Railway then successfully defended a Kutaisi corner and went in search of an equalising goal.

They were rewarded when they won a stroke in the last minute, which was successfully converted by Irish skipper Fox. 

The draw gives Railway seven points from two games, level with Kutaisi with Partille – after a 4-1 win over Viso – in third place. The Irish side complete their group at 12.45pm against Viso on Saturday with a win assuring a place in the promotion pool.

Women’s EuroHockey Indoor Challenge I (all in Porto, Portugal)

Pool A: Railway Union 2 (O Fox, K Dillon) Partille 1 (N Carlsson); Railway Union 2 (C Joyce, O Fox) Kutaisi 2 (I Rehina, L Öztürk)

Standings: 1. Ukimerioni Kutaisi 7pts (+6) 2. Railway Union 7pts (+1) 3. Partille 6pts (+2) 4. Desportivo do Viso 0pts (-9)

Saturday: Railway Union v Grupo Desportivo do Viso (POR), 12.45pm; classification matches to be determined

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