The home leg of the annual international friendly football match between Scottish Colleges and Welsh Colleges took place at Broadwood Stadium on a wet and windy Thursday afternoon. Both teams travelled to the match with strong squads, looking to gain bragging rights in what is always a competitive fixture.
The match started at a frantic pace with Wales’ number 10 hitting the post within the first few minutes after an excellent Welsh break. Scotland quickly returned the favour with a break of their own, only for Josh McGonigal to be denied by the onrushing keeper once through on goal. It was clear both sides were nervous in defence during the early stages of the match, however the Scottish defence quickly settled and both teams became more solid all over the park.
The game continued at a good pace with Wales spurning various chances, which they were made to regret as Scotland got their noses in front after 26 minutes. Tight interplay down the right was a common theme for Scotland in the opening phases and an excellent one-two between right back Scott Norman and striker Josh McGonigal led to a bouncing ball within the box which Scott Norman didn’t hesitate to volley into the back of the net.
The match remained an even affair with both teams creating good chances. Ben Wagner, Ryan Porteus and Josh McGonigal all worked tirelessly in attack and were unlucky not to add to the score line. Nonetheless it was Scotland keeper Byron Gibb that ensured Scotland went in at half time ahead, pulling off two point blank saves that both seemed destined to draw Wales level.
Half-time: Scottish Colleges 1-0 Welsh Colleges
The second half started in a similar fashion to the first with a frantic pace and visible nerves at the back, however this time it was Wales who capitalised and got themselves back into the game within a few minutes of the restart. Wales worked the ball wide and after some good play, the ball fell to the feet of Wales number 10 who side footed the ball across Robbie Kelly and into the back of the net from a difficult angle.
Wales’ enthusiastic celebration showed exactly how fired up they had become and their increased intensity soon led to them taking the lead. Perhaps in an effort to regain control of the match, Scotland committed men forward and after some loose Scottish play Wales number 7 was gifted too much time and space and his low cross was poked home by the anticipating Welsh forward in the 55th minute.
The momentum was now fully with Wales and a driven shot from outside the box in the 56th minute picked up pace on the greasy surface and fell into the path of an onrushing Wales forward after a save from Kelly. The striker made no mistake and buried the ball into the roof of the net first time queuing jubilant scenes among all Welsh staff and players.
Scotland quickly moved from 4-1-4-1 to 4-4-2 in order to chase the game with Captain Maxime Neossi dropping back into defence from his important holding role. The fluency they showed in the first half seemed to have been lost as the Welsh continued to grow in strength. Special praise must go to Wales’ number 7 who was a constant threat on the wing and was at the heart of various excellent Welsh attacks.
A second half chance did come Scotland’s way as an exchange of passes between Euan Russell and Greg Fernie led to a snap shot rattling the post. This was to be the last chance of the match as the referee drew the game to a close underneath the floodlights.
Half-time: Scottish Colleges 1-3 Welsh Colleges
An excellent afternoon and experience for everyone involved and a strong advert for college football in both Scotland and Wales. Huge thanks to the Welsh for travelling up the road and we all look forward to the away fixture in the New Year.