Scotland v England
Danson set England on their way to the semi-final.

England women's hockey team had the performance of goalkeeper Maddie Hinch and the umpires to thank after edging into the Commonwealth Games semi-finals at the expense of Scotland after a 2-1 win in a pulsating encounter in Glasgow.

Alex Danson and Susannah Townsend – in controversial circumstances – had England ahead but Nikki Kidd halved the defect just before half time.

Hinch then saved twice from Alison Bell and Kidd before denying Vikki Bunce in the second half as Scotland pilled on the pressure in the search of an equaliser.

But England clung on to reach the last four where they will likely face New Zealand, who finished 5<sup>th at the World Cup but in the knowledge they rode their luck at the National Hockey Centre.

"We've been fortunate to come out of the second half," performance director Danny Kerry. "You could see we were nervous. It would have been difficult to take [had we gone out] but they have been united.

"There were some interesting decisions that didn't go our way so I was thinking 'oh no everything is going their way but you've got to play to that and get through it and credit to the corner defence they did their job.

"I think in a semi-final when we're playing against a team who are a similar ranking to us we'll play with less fear."

Having claimed wins over Malaysia and Wales and lost to defending champions Australia, both sides knew a win would assure themselves a place in the semi-final, while defeat would end their Commonwealth campaign.

Favourites England, coached by performance director Kerry after the departure of Jason Low in June, were again able to call upon Georgie Twigg following a knee problem against a Scotland side which included Great Britain bronze medallist from London 2012, Emily McGuire.

In front of a partisan crowd, England began the better with Danson being denied at point-blank range by Amy Gibson before Twigg's reverse stick shot flew wide.

But England, who finished 11<sup>th out of 12 nations at the recent World Cup, only had to wait until the 16<sup>th minute to take the lead as Danson – fed with her back to goal by Nicola White - brilliantly turned Aileen Davis and flicked beyond the onrushing Gibson.

Scotland had been thus far charged by mere passion rather than inspiration but they almost levelled straight away as Davis escaped in behind the England defence but her pass across Hinch was agonisingly beyond the reach of Kidd.

England returned to their hustling and harrying game and almost twice doubled their lead, first as Clement dived at the feet of Sophie Bray following the 24 year old's run off the left before Lily Owsley cross-come-shot was just away from Townsend.

However, if Scotland were remaining competitive via their performance they were let down by the officials after a penalty corner, wrongly awarded by umpire Wendy Stewart for a foot in the circle, was not overturned by video umpire Annelize Rostron and the resulting set-piece saw Townsend react first after Laura Unsworth's shot, to convert from close range.

But the hosts used that injustice to half the deficit four minutes before the interval as a second successive penalty corner came out to Kidd, whose flick flew beyond Hinch.

The hosts picked up from where they left off at the start of the second as Hinch somehow kept out Clement's glancing effort, Bell and then Kidd from successive penalty corners as the efforts rained down on the England goal.

Three more penalty corners came the way of Scotland but again they contrived to pass up the opportunities to equalise as Leigh Fawcett and Nicola Lloyd contrived to divert the ball wide before Hinch pushed away Kidd's flick.

As England struggled for any possession the Scotland pressure was unrelenting and Kidd, Bell and Bunce were all prevented from scoring by Hinch in the closing moments, but they were unable to break through.

"We really tried to push it and we're absolutely gutted to not be progressing to the semi-finals," Kidd said. "We threw everything at them and had them rattled. We were getting the chances, getting the corners.

"We've come such a long way in the last few years and we've come so close. We just needed to take that final step. We took another step today.

"We did ourselves proud out there."