It was to be a difficult opener for Scotland in this year’s Centenary Shield, as England ran out emphatic winners on a freezing night at Cappielow. There was little between the sides last year, but the reigning holders showed a ruthless streak from early on this time around and the result never seemed in any doubt.
Pace and power up front were the key to five well worked England goals. The match ball undoubtedly went to 4 goal Kingsford Adjei, who had run the Scots defence ragged all night. In the end the final whistle came as a relief to some tired Scottish legs.
They were two down with half an hour gone, but the Scots had settled and given a better account of themselves as they fought on until half time. It was only really into the second half that England took the game by the scruff of the neck, and home heads started to drop.
The first goal settled any nerves with just three minutes on the clock, as England won a corner down the left, and loose marking at Daniel Barlow’s delivery allowed Adjei to swoop inside the 6 yard box drill past Ross Connolly. It was all about pace early on, with Barlow and Adjei ringing all the alarms every time they got into the final third. The Scots escaped further damage on 19 minutes as Adjei put Jack Butler clean through on goal, with the striker shooting just wide.
Scotland looked fragile at the back but managed to settle for a spell and put together some passes of their own. A first chance arrived on 32 minutes as Matthew Reilly swung in a delivery for Kyle Banner but he could only shoot straight at Aidan Stone.
And England duly went up field to extend their advantage a minute later as Adjei combined with Connor Short down the right and the striker capped a flowing move to place his second of the night past Connolly.
Scotland couldn’t find a way to respond as England’s back line held firm. Kieran Sweeney and Declan Glass ran the channels well but found themselves all too often isolated in attack. Two goals down at the break, Scotland had to find something different to get anything from this contest.