Scotland pip England to Victory Shield triumph

Friday 29 Nov 2013
Scotland's Calvin Miller celebrates

England failed to retain The Victory Shield for the first time in over a decade as they suffered a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Scotland in Perthshire.

With both sides knowing it was winner-takes-all, the game failed to live up to expectations as chances proved few and far between, and a first-half defensive mix-up was to cost England dear.

Buoyed by a vociferous home crowd, the hosts had an early chance to take the lead as Theo Archibald outpaced Layton Ndukwu and attempted to loft the ball over the on-rushing Alfie Whiteman from the right edge of the penalty box, but his effort drifted just wide.

Following the early scare, what had started as a tepid affair sparked into life as the Young Lions sought to bite back.

Scotland 1-0 England

Sky Sports Victory Shield 

Friday 29 November 2013 

Stark's Park Kirkcaldy


Moments later, a cross from James Yates looped towards the far upright, and as goalkeeper Robby McCrorie rose to collect he dropped the ball at the feet of Jonathan Leko, but the West Brom striker was unable to turn it into the net. 

Kenny Swain's side were starting to assume control of the game as Scotland appeared to be happy to sit back and hit on the counter, but a goal against the run of play on 28 minutes swung the momentum back into the hosts' favour. 

An innocuous looking cross appeared an easy catch for Whiteman, but after a collision with team-mate Cameron Humphreys, he spilled the ball and Calvin Miller pounced to take a touch before stabbing the ball into the net.

Scotland had their tales up, with Miller in particular looking full of energy. And it was the Celtic youngster who again caused England problems at the back, as he had a header blocked on the line by Ndukwu as his side pressed for a second.

England line up to face Scotland in the Victory Shield

England line up to face Scotland in the Victory Shield


Knowing that only a victory would do if they were to retain The Shield, England made a double change at the break, introducing forwards Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and Kaylen Hinds.

But Scotland were not prepared to lie back, and they came close to doubling their lead six minutes into the second half.

A corner from Mark Hill was met by the head of Ross McCrorie, but the defender's effort cannoned off the outside of the post. 

A swirling wind was now gusting around Stark's Park, and perhaps sensing a few nerves in the English defence, Scotland piled on the pressure through several successive corner kicks, but the Young Lions held firm to withstand the danger.

As the minutes ticked by and the game entered the final quarter, England struggled to create a meaningful attack, which led to further changes as Jacob Maddox and Benjamin Cull entered the fray.

The alterations failed to have the desired effect, as the Young Lions were unable to breach the resolute rearguard of their hosts. 

And with that they relinquished their grip on the crown they had made their own in recent years, as Scotland claimed their first Shield title in 14 years.

Scotland U16s 

1 Robby McCrorie, 2 Ross McCrorie, 3 Leon Jones (C), 4 Daniel Higgins, 5 Daniel Harvie, 6 Sean McKirdy, 7 Theo Archibald, 8 Mark Hill (16 Frank Ross, 75 minutes), 9 Calvin Miller (18 Aaron Norris, 64 minutes) 10 Mackenzie Heaney, 11 Alastair Coote (15 Ben Stirling, 80 minutes).

Subs not used
12 Ross Doohan, 14 Ross Lyon, 17 Imnes Murray, 19 Kevin O'Hara.

England U16s

1 Alfie Whiteman (13 Connor King, 73 minutes), 2 James Yates, 3 Layton Ndukwu, 4 Thomas Davies, 5 Cameron Humphreys (C), 6 Danny Collinge, 7 Christopher Willock (17 Kaylen Hinds, 40 minutes), 8 Herbie Kane (14 Jacob Maddox, 64 minutes), 9 Jonathan Leko (16 Benjamin Cull, 64 minutes), 10 Foday Nabay, 11 Lukas Nmecha (12 Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, 40 minutes).

Subs not used
15 Reece Oxford,18 William Patching

By Gary Stonehouse Staff Writer