Senior Boys vs Australia
Wednesday 23rd January 2019,
Ochilview Park 11am kick off.

Scotland took on Australia at Ochilview, delighted to have the opportunity to play the match: sustained snowfall in the Renfrew area on Tuesday had rendered New Western Park unplayable.

Thankfully, temperatures were higher further east, and the officials at Stenhousemuir were able to host the match at late notice, despite a sheen of frost on the stand side of the pitch.

Scotland did not seem worried by this and were keen to maintain their good run,
having defeated Stirling Albion and Partick Thistle in two previous warm up games.

Indeed it was the in-form Tiwi DARAMOLA who drew first blood for the home team after 2 minutes of play. Herbert’s long ball eluded the away defence, and found the forward running through to lift his finish past Kaye to open the scoring.

Tiwi Daramola opens the scoring

The next ten minutes passed without incident as the teams sized one another up.

Australia then served notice of their intent as Carluccio, McCarthy and Rule combined. Rule’s pass found Australian skipper Carluccio in the penalty area, but he pulled his shot on the turn narrowly wide.

Australia continued to probe and won a series of corners. The last of these saw a dangerous delivery from Jordan fisted clear by Herbert amongst a forest of players.

Scotland immediately progressed to the other end, and a fine ball from Baird saw Daramola look to bear down on goal. An excellent tackle by Pelekanos thwarted the Scottish goal machine as he sought to net his second.

Australia were enjoying the majority of possession but were being denied any real opportunities by the Scotland defenders.

An exception to this came when an incisive pass from Rule almost played in Carluccio again, but his shot slid past the near post.

Carluccio had another chance half way through the first half – as Jordan and Balard exchanged passes to tee him up on the edge of the area. Carluccio demonstrated quick feet to set himself up for a strike on goal, but his effort was off target.

A minute later Balard was again making mischief for the socceroos. His raking ball picked out McCarthy on the right who was able to deliver an early centre for Sparacino in the area, but his effort went straight across the face of Herbert’s goal.

The visitors continued to probe. Rule was fouled 25 yards out by Baird. He took the resultant free kick himself, and his powerful attempt was deflected over the crossbar by Dylan Coll.

The corner which followed was partially cleared by the Scottish defence, but Sparacino fired goalward. Herbert would certainly have saved this effort, but the Scottish keeper was left helpless by McCarthy’s clever flick to equalise for Australia after 27 minutes.

McCarthy levels the score

On the half hour mark Herbert was again involved – rushing from his goal to deny Carluccio who looked set to run in on goal following Holman’s pass from the centre circle.

Scotland then put together a dangerous attack. Captain Jack Hodge found Daramola on the right. His low cross sought out Owen Andrew, but decisive defending by Richards cleared at the expense of a corner, which yielded little.

Tempers then flared with 5 minutes remaining in the first half. McCarthy had been fouled as the Australians sought to launch another attack, but the referee had allowed for advantage. This move broke down and the Australian play-maker launched himself into a challenge on Hodge.  Sam Walker headed wide from the resultant free kick.

Still play moved from end to end as an entertaining first half drew to a close. Carluccio and Sparacino traded passes to play Rule into the box. He sought out Jordan, but Lee Herbert swooped at the visiting forward’s feet to avert the trouble. Herbert’s quick distribution allowed Doig to progress down the left and play in Andrew, who was very well tackled by Richards on the edge of the Australian area.

HALF TIME: SCOTLAND 1 AUSTRALIA 1

Wilson Romanis and Archie Meekison replaced Tiwi Daramola and Sam Walker at half time.

It took only two minutes for Romanis to make a serious contribution to the Scottish cause. Doig’s cross found the wide-man and he quickly shifted the ball infield to OWEN ANDREW. His first touch was good, his second was devastating: sweeping the ball into the net from 6 yards.

Owen Andrew makes the score 2-1 to Scotland

Australia tried to quickly hit back, forcing 3 corners in quick succession. However Scotland had the next opportunity from a quick breakaway – Romanis’ shot from 20 yards being well saved by goalkeeper Kaye.

The visitors weren’t to be denied and Hollman equalised in the tenth minute of the second period – pouncing on Herbert’s forward pass to lift the ball into the vacant goal.

Australia make the score 2-2

Australia took encouragement from this counter and continued to press forward. Carluccio and McCarthy combined, but the former was crowded out in the penalty area.

Just after the hour mark, two substitutions were made: Josh McConville replaced Dylan Coll for Scotland, whilst Zabala was sent on for Australia in place of the enterprising Bailey Rule.

Both players were immediately involved, as McConville (assisted by Christopher Stafford) prevented Zabala running through on Herbert’s goal. Pelekanos picked up the scraps and moved the ball to Hollman, but he bent his shot over the crossbar.

In the last 20 minutes Australia had most of the chances: Scotland failed to clear and the ball fell to Hollman, but he shot straight at Herbert; Carluccio robbed Thompson and appeared to be tugged back by the full back, but the substitute goalkeeper saved his shot after the referee allowed advantage; a fine challenge by McConville locked out Aussie sub Napit as he looked destined to score and Heraghty punched clear from Carluccio as far as Niewenhof but the substitute shot over.

This was testament to the visitors’ fitness as they have undergone a punishing schedule of matches, although Scotland would have been disappointed had they taken nothing from the match.

FULL TIME: SCOTLAND 2 AUSTRALIA 2

Scotland: Herbert, Thompson, Doig, Coll, Stafford, Baird, Walker, Hodge (c), Daramola, Andrew, Smith.
Subs: Heraghty (for Herbert 68’), McConville (for Coll 62’), Meekison (for Daramola 45’), Romanis ( for Walker 45’).

Australia: Kaye, Richards, Webb, Balard, Carluccio (c), Jordan, McCarthy, Sparacino, Pelekanos, Hollman, Rule.
Subs: Scheffers, Stewart, Niewenhof, Napit, Harth, Zabala, Nikolovski.