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Scotland v England - Match Report

International Challenge Match

 

Scotland 3 England 1 (Half-Time 2-1)
Scorers: Nicky Moore (2, 1 penalty) Tony Jaconnelli

 

Scotland laid the foundation for this impressive victory with a strong opening period.

 

During their blistering start, they deservedly established a 2-0 lead. The home side faltered briefly with the loss of a cheap goal shortly before the break and had to withstand a strong English fightback before securing the win with a late strike.

 

Nicky Moore got the home side off to the best of starts with a fine goal after only 2 minutes.

 

Niall McClure collected the ball in midfield and slid the ball wide to Sean Heaver, hugging the left touchline. Heaver cut back inside the fullback and curled an inviting ball beyond the central defence into the heart of the area. Nicky Moore darted ahead of his marker and guided a precise downward header beyond the keeper and into the left hand corner from 12 yards to make it 1-0.

 

England mounted a quick reply with a series of attacks down the Scotland left.

 

On 7 minutes, Stuart Wilson rose above a ruck of bodies to punch away an in-swinging corner from the right. The ball broke to a midfielder on the edge of the area. He headed towards the postage stamp corner, but Wilson anticipated the danger and gathered high to his left.

 

Two minutes later, the tall English striker shrugged off a challenge at the edge of the box and turned to create a shooting opportunity. Fortunately for the home side his effort curled a yard wide of the right hand post.

 

England continued to press and Stuart Wilson was again called into action, comfortably taking a free kick from 25 yards low to his right.

 

Scotland regained their early momentum, with Kevin McLean causing problems with probing runs down the right. Twice within as many minutes, McLean sent testing crosses into the box. The English defence stood resolute making good blocks as Niall McClure and Kenny Mclellan tried to force the ball through.

 

After 13 minutes, Scotland swept the ball from defence to a dangerous position on the right with slick passing move. Kevin McLean edged the ball to Niall McClure who had taken up a go position on the edge of the penalty box. McClure lost his marker with a quick turn and drove a low strike from 16 yards the keeper did well to smother.

 

Scotland extended their lead after 18 minutes.

 

Niall McClure gathered 25 yards out and drove into the heart of the English defence. He shrugged off two challenges before being unceremoniously hauled to the floor with a desperate lunge for a clear penalty.

 

Nicky Moore confidently converted, sending the keeper the wrong way to give the Scots a deserved 2-0 lead.

 

On 23 minutes, Kenny Feaks knocked the ball down to Sean Heaver in a central position. Heaver forced a shot from 23 yards but failed to test the keeper who saved easily.

 

England came close to pulling one back after 32 minutes.

 

They won a free kick 25 yards out on the Scotland left. They swung curling cross beyond the Scotland backline. It was met on the run by a forward but his glancing header dropped a foot over the bar.

 

After 35 minutes, England launched a long throw deep into the heart of the Scotland area. Andy McGown did well to head clear under pressure from two attackers. Stuart Wilson punched clear the resultant corner as the Scots looked to preserve their two-goal advantage at the break.

 

England forced their way back into the game with an opportunist strike after 43 minutes.

 

Yet again they drove a cross from the left deep into the heart of the Scotland six-yard area. The ball cruelly broke off Scott Methven and fell kindly to an unmarked English player. He gleefully rammed the ball past Stuart Wilson from 10 yards to make it 2-1.

 

Deep in first half added time, England squandered another good opportunity. They headed wide at the back post from only 4 yards out after a deep cross from the right.

 

Scotland retained their 2-1 advantage at the interval.

 

Scotland Manager Bruce McNaught made a clutch of changes at the break as he looked to give all his squad significant game time. England also made several changes.

 

Four minutes into the half, Sean Heaver fired a low shot from the edge of the area the keeper collected low to his right.

 

After 53 minutes, David Matthews sliced open the English defence with a slide rule pass wide to Paul McAulay. McAulay spun his marker at the right edge of the box and hit the byeline. He skimmed a glorious ball across the face of the goal but no one was on hand to take advantage.

 

On the hour mark, England won a free kick 24 yards out left of centre. They tried to drive the wall under the Scotland defensive wall but Andy McGown anticipated the effort and cleared decisively.

 

Scotland continued to play the better football but found the well organised England defence hard to break down. England preferred a more direct route, repeatedly testing the home defence with a barrage of long balls deep into the home defence. However, Andy McGowan and Kenny Feaks were dominant in their central defensive berths and time after time denied the away side with commanding headers.

 

Scotland also worked tirelessly in midfield and gradually started to regain ascendancy, moving the ball from back to front with confidence. Paul McAulay proved a great outball for the Scots with his strong running and holding play down the right flank.

 

Sean Smith and David Kneale combined well but the striker’s effort from 22 yards deflected off a defender and slipped harmlessly wide.

 

Scotland scored the crucial third goal after 74 minutes.

 

The Scots won a free kick 24 yards out in a central position. Andy McGown stepped forward and hammered a low drive that ricocheted off the defensive wall to Sean Smith.

 

Smith gathered 12 yards out with his back to goal. He swivelled to rifle a low drive that seemed to be heading for the right hand corner of the net. The English keeper made a fine reaction save, diving full-length to his right to push the ball wide.

 

Tony Jaconnelli pounced on the loose ball. From the narrowest of angles some 8 yards out, Jaconnelli drilled an unstoppable low shot past the keeper at the near post to make it 3-1.

 

England had a late flurry of attacks as they battled to grab a lifeline back into a game quickly slipping away from them. Graham Butler added to Scotland’s aerial strength as the home defence continued to stand firm. Scott Walker retained a calm presence in the Scots goal, wisely taking the sting out the English attacks with safe handling and careful distribution.

 

On 81 minutes, England won a free kick 23 yards out wide on the left. The ball was curled towards the near post where a forward escaped his marker but headed a yard over.

 

Two minutes later, England again came close with an almost identical move but again spurned the chance with a header that flew well over.

 

With the game deep in added time, England won a corner on the Scotland left. They drove to the back post but their final headed effort of the match lacked conviction and the Scots protected their hard-earned 3-1 lead.

 

For both sides, this was the ideal preparation match for their pending UEFA Regions Cup Preliminary Round campaigns.

 

Bruce McNaught’s men will head to Malta in early October buoyed by their impressive Group win in Lithuania in May and this battling, and thoroughly deserved, victory over the Auld Enemy.

 

 

SCOTLAND


Stuart Wilson (Scott Walker 45), Harry Bruce (Graham Butler 45), Scott Methven, Kenny Feaks, Andy McGown, David Matthews (Tony Jaconnelli 63), Kevin McLean (Paul McAulay 45), Nicky Moore (Sean Smith 45), Kenny Mclellan (David Kneale 45), Niall McClure, Sean Heaver, Paul McCracken (Unused)

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