National Teams (57)
It was a stalemate at Spartans Academy last night, as Scotland School boys drew 1-1 with the Republic of Ireland in the final match of the 2015 Centenary Shield. Whether the game was going to be a good one pre-match, was in doubt as there was nothing to play for. Ireland had already wrapped up the Shield last time out, defeating England by a goal to nil and Scotland sat in fourth place. Once the anthems had been completed and referee Calum Murray blew for kick off those doubts were swept aside and the two hundred or so spectators were treated to a gripping match.
Scotland knew that it would take an almighty effort to cultivate a decent result as Ireland came into the game with three wins from their three games, scoring six goals in the process. It was an even start as both sides were matching each other up, looking for that early goal but not wishing to concede at the back. The first chance of note fell to Darragh Markey, as he picked the ball up on the left hand side of the box. He jinked to his left to give himself some room and took a shot that dragged just wide of the goal, clipping the side netting.
Ireland were really pushing for the opening goal and a dipping free kick from Troy Carey looked destined for the bottom corner, however Scotland keeper Ben McKenzie made a stunning save to get his palm to the ball and tip it round the corner.
The deadlock was soon broken, though, as Connor Ellis for Ireland got the ball slipped through to him. He excellently spotted the goalkeeper rushing of his line and duly chipped him so the ball bounced over the line putting the Irish one up.
The goal invigorated the visitors and they took the pace, tempo and quality of the match to another level. Scotland struggled to keep pace with the Irish and as a result, were finding it increasingly difficult to stamp their authority on the game.
A chance did come their way though. James Hilton burst into the box and quickly fired a snapshot across the face of goal. If somebody in a blue shirt had been lurking at the back post it would have been an east tap in, however instead the ball rolled out and behind for a goal kick.
Another opportunity fell to the Scots just before the break. Despite all of the possession and intricate passes Ireland were stringing together, Jonathon Galloway found himself in behind after a wonderful over the top ball from Scott Burns. The ball was bouncing and his shot, despite Galloway’s best efforts to keep it low, the effort flew over the bar.