Victory Shield clinched in style
Friday, 25 November, 2011
A brace from Jordan Brown helps England to 4-2 win in Scotland.
By James Marshall in Inverness
England completed this season's Victory Shield campaign in style with a 4-2 win over Scotland in Inverness.
Kenny Swain's Young Lions had already secured the Shield, for the eleventh time in succession, but this win allowed England to clinch the all-British title with a 100 per cent record.
Arsenal's Jordan Brown capitalised on a slip by Scotland 'keeper Ryan Fulton to fire the visitors ahead after just seven minutes, and Brown's club mate Alex Iwobi doubled the lead on 14 minutes, though a deflection paid a big part in the ball looping over Fulton.
Scotland were offered hope when Celtic's Paul McMullan beat the impressive England 'keeper Angus Gunn with a firm angled drive, but a fine finish from Brown just after the half-an-hour mark reclaimed England's two-goal advantage.
Derby County's Mason Bennett made it 4-1 with an impudent flick of his right boot, his third goal in this season's Shield, just after the break, but almost immediately, Scotland were awarded a penalty when Max Clark felled McMullan inside the box and skipper Craig Storie confidently stroked the penalty home.
There were further chances for both sides a cold, wet night, but Swain's young charges held on to reclaim the Shield.
The match itself brought the curtain down on 30 years of dedicated service by Scotland Head Coach Ross Mathie. Ironically Scotland’s last win against England at this level came in Inverness in 1997.
The visitors started the game well with crisp, passing football and they didn’t have to wait long to break the deadlock. A slip by Fulton in wet and windy conditions let in Brown who slid the ball home to give his side an early lead.
Iwobi then doubled the lead on 14 minutes. The young winger broke into the box and lifted the ball over the stranded Fulton with the help of a slight deflection.
However, it wasn’t all plain sailing for England in the opening 40 minutes as Scotland showed great resilience to grab a goal back. McMullan struck his shot past Gunn to get the crowd on their feet in the freezing temperatures.
Even though England were under the cosh after the goal, they weathered the storm, stuck to their passing game and added to their lead on 31 minutes.
A quick counter-attack down the left resulted in Brown grabbing his second of the night with a clinical finish, striking the ball home off the far post to make it three.
The second half started at a fast pace, just like the first, with Scotland driving forward looking to get back into the game.
It was England who produced the better finishing of the two sides, though, with another Victory Shield goal from Mason Bennett. The Derby youngster struck the ball confidently into the far corner of the net with the outside of his boot to effectively put the game beyond the reach of the Auld Enemy.
Scotland weren’t finished, however, and a minute later they were awarded a penalty. Storie converted from the spot to make it an interesting last 20 minutes for England, but they played the game out well to seal a 4-2 win, and Middlesbrough youngster Bryn Morris, who was captaining his country for the first time, got the opportunity to lift the Victory Shield in front of a crowd of 1,454.