Scotland sunk late in Austria
Last Updated: 10/09/12 9:19pm
Watt: Holds off Christian Klem
Scotland Under-21s lost 3-2 to Austria as their European Under-21 Championship qualifying hopes ended with their first defeat of the campaign.
Johnny Russell had put Scotland ahead in the 74th minute after Tony Watt cancelled out Michael Gregoritsch's early opener but Billy Stark's side could only hold on to their lead for 90 seconds before Andreas Weimann equalised.
Raphael Holzhauser scored on the counter-attack as Scotland threw men forward in a bid to secure a last-gasp winner at the Cashback Arena in Altach.
Scotland had gone into the game assured of second place behind Group 10 winners Holland but only the four best runners-up join the top teams in the play-offs for next summer's finals in Israel and they had to throw caution to the wind in the final stages as a draw would not have been enough.
Having lost Jordan Rhodes and James Forrest to the senior squad, and Gary Mackay-Steven to a knee injury, Stark was deprived of another attacking option when Leigh Griffiths pulled out through illness after scoring in Thursday's 3-0 win over Luxembourg.
But the in-form Watt came in after scoring off the bench at St Mirren Park with David Wotherspoon returning from suspension to replace Rhys McCabe.
Austria's hopes had ended with defeat by Holland on Friday but they started on the front foot and Michael Gregoritsch headed into the roof of the net in the eighth minute after getting in front of Ryan Jack to meet an inswinging cross from the right.
Scotland struggled to mount any attacks in the opening quarter and Andreas Weimann had a sight of goal when Gregoritsch headed on a diagonal ball but the Aston Villa forward hit the side-netting.
Wiemann then had a half-hearted appeal for a penalty as he failed to convert Stefan Schwab's left-wing cross under a sliding challenge from Danny Wilson.
Scotland came into the game around the half-hour mark and Watt was just beaten to Wotherspoon's header across goal before Russell missed a great chance.
Paul Hanlon cut in from the left and played the ball beyond the home defence but Russell could not get a decent contact and the home keeper gratefully collected.
Scott Allan fired just over from 30 yards but Scotland had a let-off before the break when Schwab mis-kicked Weimann's cutback from 12 yards.
Schwab headed wide following a corner just after the break but Scotland began to push back their opponents and were level in the 54th minute. Russell leapt brilliantly to head on Wilson's long free-kick and Watt reacted quickly to head over the onrushing goalkeeper.
Scotland brought on Peter Pawlett for Allan but they were almost caught out by a long ball as Wiemann headed wide.
Scotland survived a spell of pressure and stunned the hosts in the 74th minute when Watt got round the outside of his man on the left and drove the ball into the goalmouth.
The Austrian goalkeeper fumbled and Russell bundled the ball over the line.
But just like their 2-2 draw in Bulgaria in May, Scotland lost an instant equaliser. Ross Perry failed to deal with a cross from the left and the ball spun off his knee and fell for Weimann, who dived to head home from six yards.
Hanlon soon came close with a 35-yard lob with the keeper stranded after a challenge with Watt and Scotland pressed in the final 10 minutes.
Watt had a sight of goal from a tight angle but was torn between shooting and crossing and the keeper held his effort.
And Scotland's hopes evaporated just after the 90 minutes were up.
Substitute Gregg Wylde lost the ball on the left wing and Austria broke quickly to set up a two-against-two before Holzhauser ran into the box and fired across Jordan Archer and into the far corner.
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying
Mon 10th Sep - Group One
Belarus U211 - 0San Marino U21
Greece U211 - 0Cyprus U21
Bosnia U214 - 4Germany U21
Mon 10th Sep - Group Three
Czech R U215 - 0Wales U21
Montenegro U210 - 0Armenia U21
Mon 10th Sep - Group Six
Russia U212 - 2Moldova U21
Poland U210 - 0Portugal U21
Mon 10th Sep - Group Nine
Slovakia U216 - 0Kaz'stan U21
Latvia U210 - 4Romania U21
Mon 10th Sep - Group Ten
Austria U213 - 2Scotland U21
Lux'bourg U211 - 3Bulgaria U21
Mon 10th Sep - Group Seven
Italy U212 - 4Rep Ire U21
Hungary U212 - 0Liec'stein U21
Mon 10th Sep - Group Four
Serbia U215 - 1Macedonia U21
Denmark U213 - 0N Ireland U21
Mon 10th Sep - Group Two
Sweden U212 - 1Ukraine U21
Lithuania U211 - 3Finland U21
Mon 10th Sep - Group Eight
England U211 - 0Norway U21
Belgium U215 - 0Iceland U21
Mon 10th Sep - Group Five
Spain U216 - 0Croatia U21
Switzerland U213 - 0Estonia U21
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group One
|6||San Marino U21||10||4|
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Two
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Three
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Four
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Five
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Six
|4||Rep of Ireland U21||8||8|
|5||Faroe Islands U21||8||4|
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Seven
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Eight
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Nine
|5||N Ireland U21||8||3|
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Ten
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Eleven
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Twelve
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Thirteen
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Fourteen