Nicola Docherty’s early second-half strike earned Scotland a 1-0 victory over Australia in their international friendly at London’s Cherry Red Records Stadium.
Nominal hosts the Matildas elected to rest prolific Chelsea striker Sam Kerr while her Scottish namesake, the Rangers midfielder, was in head coach Pedro Martinez Losa’s starting XI.
Hayley Raso nearly got things started for the Matildas but her free-kick from 18 yards out instead deflected off a team-mate. Manchester United’s Martha Thomas then called Australia keeper Mackenzie Arnold into action for the first time on 27 minutes.
While Scotland, ranked 13 places below the FIFA world number 10 Australians, continued to put pressure on their opponents, it remained goalless at half-time despite efforts from Thomas, Kerr and 17-year-old Emma Watson, who looked strong on her international debut.
The visitors got off to a flying start after the restart as Docherty broke the deadlock on 46 minutes, giving Arnold no chance with a looping effort that clipped the post before going in.
The Matildas came within inches of an immediate reply when, two minutes later, Cortnee Vine was denied by the woodwork, the same fate befalling Clare Hunt soon after.
The Australians never seemed out of it and created plenty of chances but could not convert them into an equaliser, while Arnold narrowly prevented a second for Scotland through Real Madrid’s Caroline Weir on 75 minutes.
Scotland survived four minutes of added time to seal the clean sheet, while Australia will look to regroup ahead of Tuesday’s friendly with European champions England.
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