WHAT a difference two seconds made in Scotland's quest for promotion at the European Nations Championships 11 at Prague yesterday as they were heading for a very creditable 1-1 draw with tournament favourites Poland, but then conceded a goal to lose 2-1 in the dying seconds.

"It was very disappointing to lose in such a manner, we paid the price of not putting our chances away when we had them," said Forsyth. "We then allowed the Poles back into the game and gave away two soft goals."

This was a cruel blow to a Scottish side that perhaps should have won the game in the first half. Now Derek Forsyth's promotion aspirations hang in the balance. The Scots must beat Croatia today and Ukraine on Wednesday to ensure a place in the semi-finals. The latter encounter might not be an easy affair, with Ukraine thumping the Croats 10-5 in a goalfest in the other pool match.

The Scots took the game to the talented Poles in the early exchanges and Alan Forsyth, Dan Coultas at a penalty corner and Wei Adams all had chances to take the lead. Chris Grassick had perhaps the best chance to score, but the move, set up by a great run from Kenny Bain, left the Scottish captain with perhaps too much time to deflect the ball past the Polish goalkeeper and the opportunity vanished.

Jamie Cachia in the Scotland goal had yet to touch the ball but his clean sheet was only preserved by a brilliant goal-line save by Forsyth at the first Polish penalty corner just before the interval.

Two minutes into the second half Alan Forsyth made and scored Scotland's opener, waltzing along the bye-line, and in the resulting scramble the Surbiton striker retained possession of the ball and slipped it under the Polish goalkeeper.

Although a further couple of scoring chances fell to Bain, it was clear that the reversal had stimulated the Poles into action. There was a clear let-off for the Scots at a Polish set piece, Ross Stott saved on the line only for the rebound to be sent into the net the rebound fortunately the umpire had already blown.

The Scots defence, which had hitherto dealt perfectly with the Polish strikeforce, was finally caught napping and Krystian Makowski took full advantage to level from close range.

The Poles were now closing in for the winner and with seconds left they were awarded their sixth penalty corner and Pawel Bratkowski stepped up to launch his drag flick into the roof of the net past an outstretched Cachia for the cruel winner.