Matildas' win streak ended by Scotland in London


Scotland beat Australia 1-0 in women's friendly game in London

Scotland's Nicola Docherty scores the only goal of the match at the start of the second half at AFC Wimbledon's stadium in London.

The Matildas' seven-game winning streak is over, dynamited by a 1-0 defeat to a feisty Scotland side in London in a frustrating setback for their World Cup preparations.

While the Australians were at least encouraged to see an impressive return for star fullback Ellie Carpenter after a year's international absence, Tony Gustavsson's team were left ruing a series of missed chances as they succumbed for the first time since last September.

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The experimental but injury-hit Matildas struck the woodwork twice through Cortnee Vine and debutant Clare Hunt on Friday but badly missed the firepower of the benched Sam Kerr and looked alarmingly suspect in defence as they could hardly complain about defeat to a side which even didn't make the World Cup.

Gustavsson admitted he'd been tempted to bring on Kerr for a second-half cameo in a bid to keep the record going, but saw "a bigger picture" after the Chelsea striker's recent exhausting series of big games.

He was also coy on whether Kerr is carrying an injury into Tuesday's glamour international with England at Brentford, noting cryptically: "I can't comment on that, so I'll keep that close to my chest as of now."

The Scots, ranked 23 in the world, got into the Aussies' faces, won the opening-half physical battle and eventually prevailed over their top-10 opponents with a freakish, looping second-half strike from Nicola Docherty.

Yet spurred by their very own Sam Kerr, they also created enough opportunities to embarrass the Matildas' rearguard.

"Obviously, you want to win every game but we got some important lessons today," said captain Clare Polkinghorne.

"First half, we rushed a little bit in the final third and the second half was a lot better, we created a lot of good chances. It's just about being a bit more clinical.

"They were [in our face] but we were expecting that. Probably a little bit in the first half they got on top of us in that physicality area. We had trouble wresting back that initiative."

In front of a holiday crowd of 2,136 at AFC Wimbledon's Plough Lane stadium in London, the Aussies clearly missed some of their marquee names with about 600 caps worth of players either out injured or being saved on the bench.

Carpenter's return was a boon, though. She opened up impressively, forging forward as if she'd never been away as she got over an hour under her belt before being substituted.

Early on, it was Hayley Raso who really caused problems for the Scottish defence, being brought down just outside the box after weaving a path through.

Kartina Gorry swung in a dangerous free-kick to the far post which Raso and Hunt could have done more with, but that was effectively the last time the Matildas threatened in the first half as the Scots had a purple patch.

Winger Martha Thomas twice came close, forcing a first save from Mackenzie Arnold and then volleying just over. Then Kerr - the Scottish version - struck one from distance just wide as the Scots found alarming amounts of space.

The game's complexion changed within two minutes after the break when, almost out of nowhere, Docherty unleashed a speculative, looping effort from the left edge of the box which curled agonisingly beyond Arnold into the top far corner of the net.

It spurred the Matildas into life, Vine hitting the underside of the bar, Mary Fowler being denied one-on-one with goalie Lee Gibson and Hunt then unleashing a piledriver from more than 20 metres out that struck the woodwork again.

The chances kept coming but, without Kerr, the finishing was poor.