Scotland 2 Wales 4

Scotland took on Wales at a damp Cappielow, home of Greenock Morton, in their second Centenary Shield fixture of this year’s campaign. This match followed a promising 1 each draw with the Republic of Ireland in Athlone whilst today marked the visitors’ first fixture.

Scotland made a brisk start despite the Welsh having kick-off. The lively crowd were encouraged immediately as Jack Allan charged down an attempted forward pass from the kick-off. He hared after the ball on the left hand side but his attempted cut-back was just out of Stuart McDowell’s reach in the middle.

The brisk start from the hosts continued: Robbie Stewart and Freddie Rowe combined well down the left but Rowe’s cross towards Allan was cut out by Zziwa before being cleared.

Robbie Stewart attacks down the left wing

A good passage of play around the ten minute mark saw Wales announce their presence as an attacking force in the game. First Stephens flicked on dangerously from a free kick from the left hand side but Robbie Stewart was well placed to tidy up; Ieuan Owen then had a brisk turn and shot but a great block by local hero Owen Doyle averted an almost certain goal; and the Scotland skipper was again on hand to slide in and clear Evans’ dangerous centre as two Welsh players lurked with intent.

Allan then just failed to pounce on a short pass back but Wales took the lead in unfortunate fashion in the 14th minute. Zziwa played a lovely pass to Sage who drove a skidding cross into the area. An attempted clearance ricocheted between two Scotland defenders and entered the net via the woodwork.

The Welsh team celebrate the opening goal of the game

To Scotland’s credit, they fought their way back into the game on the half hour mark. McDowell and Allan combined in a breakaway down the left flank: the ball was cut back to Rowe who saw his effort cannon back off the crossbar. Another effort was blocked – STUART MCDOWELL followed up to drill home and level the scores.

Scotland players celebrate Stuart McDowell's equaliser

MCDOWELL was in dreamland a minute later and sent the noisy crowd into raptures with a superb late run through the Welsh defence to find himself through on goalkeeper Osbourne. As the stopper raced out to narrow the angle the Scotsman coolly lifted the ball into the vacant goal to give Scotland a 2-1 lead.

Stuart McDowell scores his second goal in TWO minutes to give Scotland a 2-1 lead

As the time ticked down towards half time the game was played mostly in midfield. A slick Welsh move involving Owen, Davies and Sage found Evans in the area. He made no mistake in putting the ball away. Wales had equalised in the 48th first half minute.

Wales draw level just before half-time

HALF TIME: SCOTLAND 2, WALES 2.

Neither side made a change at half time as the rain continued to lash Greenock. Just as Scotland had started the first half quickly from the opposition centre, Wales returned the favour: to deadly effect – Osian Evans’ clinical finish giving Wales a 3-2 lead.

Osian Evans puts Wales back into the lead at the start of the second half

McDowell tried in vain to hit back for Scotland: he broke free and crossed to the back post but the ball dribbled out of play. He was then denied by superb defending by Stephens as he tried to feed Allan in the penalty box.

Rohan Harkin in the Scotland goal then kept the score at 4-2 on the hour mark with an excellent point-blank save from Walby. There had been a suggestion of a foul in the build up but play raged on and the goalie showed magnificent alertness to deny the Welshman what looked a certain goal.

The next twenty minutes saw Scotland attempt to break forward whilst leaving fewer men at the back. This led to a couple of opportunities for either side: Euan Bowie’s header was well saved by Osbourne and a great interception from Mwenera repelled a promising attack as McDowell almost threaded the ball through to Matthew Falconer. At the other end a magnificent goalline clearance by Bowie prevented Austin’s curling effort entering the net then Archie Gibson’s last ditch tackle denied Owen after a low cross was diverted in to his path.

Matthew Falconer attacks the Welsh defence

Osian Evans completed a fine hat-trick and put the game beyond Scotland’s reach with five minutes remaining. Evans was freed by a positive run by Owen; he completed the move by taking the ball round Harkins and slotting into the empty net.

Wales' Osian Evans celebrates scoring his third and Wales' fourth goal of the game

Next up for Scotland are Northern Ireland at Ochilview, Stenhousemuir on Thursday 21st March with a 1pm kick off.

FULL TIME: SCOTLAND 2 (McDowell 2), WALES 4 (Doyle (og) Evans 3)

Cautions: Scotland – Nixon (49), Burke (77),
Gilfedder (90+5), Gibson (90+6).
Wales – Mwenera (36), Evans (64).

SCOTLAND: Harkin, Nixon (Gibson 60), Stewart, Doyle (c), Bowie, Burke (McKay 84), Cooper, McDowell, Rowe (Gilfedder 60), Falconer (Low 70), Allan (Shields 70). Subs not used: Prunty (gk), Graham.

WALES: Osbourne, Zziwa, Mwenera, Stephens, Owen, Sage, Evans (Jones 90+2), H. John (c) (Austin 66), Wilson, Walby (D. John 66), Owen (Anderson 88).

Scotland Starting Eleven

Wales Squad