England 4 Scotland 2

The Scottish Schools FA under 18 boys team concluded their 2024 Centenary Shield campaign with a game against long standing rivals England at the excellent stadium of Chesterfield FC In an entertaining, well contested match it was England who came out on top with a 4-2 victory which denied the Scots a win in this season’s competition.

After an evenly contested first ten minutes, it was England who went ahead. A long ball over the top caught out the Scottish defence and England winger Freddie Hadden gave goalkeeper Liam Prunty no chance with a clinical finish.

Scotland responded to the set back in great fashion and were level only a minute later. Forward Jack Allan made space in the box and his shot hit the post. The rebound landed with Flynn Mackay who netted from a difficult angle to equalise for Scotland.

Scotland’s game plan to counter the strong English side seemed to be working well and their counter attack play gave the home team some questions to answer.

However it was England who took the lead two minutes into added time in the first half. A wide free kick into the box found Hadden unchallenged in the box and his header found the bottom corner meaning that England took a one goal lead in to half time.

Scotland knew they needed a fast, determined start to the second period and they delivered just that. A good chance was scorned by Reuben Cooper and then Stuart McDowell hit the bar with his effort.

Scotland however were determined to get back in the game and Reuben Coooer made amends for his earlier miss when he headed home Scotland’s second equaliser. A set piece corner kick saw substitute Matt Falconer deliver a great cross into the box which Cooper netted with a powerful header to bring Scotland level.

In a season that has seen Scotland unable to get the results that their performance would merit their biggest difficulty has been conceding too many free kick and corner kicks which have given their opponents numerous goal scoring chances.

That is exactly what happened as the game reached the last quarter. From a free kick near the edge of the box England created three shooting chances from the edge of the box. The defence managed two great blocks but the third shot from Jonah Scutt was deflected past keeper Prunty and England had restored their lead.

Scotland tried hard to reply again. Substitute Jacob Shields created a chance for himself but didn’t shoot quickly enough before being dispossessed.

Instead of Scotland scoring a third equaliser it was England who secured the win when, from a corner kick,captain Jack Matten scored with a back post header to make the final score 4-2 to the home team.

The SAFIB Centenary Shield competition for the season was won by Northern Ireland this year when their side, clearly the best side beat Wales on Thursday to secure their fourth win in four games.

Well done to the Northern Ireland team.

Scotland: Prunty, Gibson, Doyle(Gilfedder), Bowie, Stewart(Lowe);, Burke, McDowell, Rowe(Graham), Cooper, Mackay(Falconer), Allan(Shields).
Unused subs – Harkins,Nixon.