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Scotland strike late to salvage opening day point

Scotland Schools 1

Quitongo 89

Northern Ireland Schools 1

Dempster 55
  • Thursday, 06 March 2014
  • New Bayview, Methil
  • Under 18´s
  • Centenary Shield
Report courtesy of the Scottish Schools FA.
Scotland’s first Centenary Shield match of this year’s campaign finished in deadlock after an energetic tussle with Northern Ireland at Bayview Stadium. Bayview had been the setting last weekend for Sky Sports’ cameras as they featured the Fifers take on Scottish Division One champions elect Rangers. That match saw the visitors clinch victory from a last minute goal, but tonight it was the home side’s turn to notch with time running out, as a late Jai Quitongo strike – assisted by a large deflection – cancelled out Curtis Dempster’s opener for the visitors.
Scotland (sponsored by TSB) selected a 4-5-1 formation which seemed well suited to the greasy underfoot conditions caused by incessant rainfall in the Kingdom of Fife prior to kick-off. Ironman Scott Burns supplemented the energetic Michael Hardie and thoughtful Jamie Dishington in the middle of the park. This saw Scotland gain a foothold in the frantic early stages as the ball zipped around quickly on a surface which coped very well with the amount of water falling upon it.
A high level of effort and endeavour could be witnessed from both sides from the very first whistle. These matches have recently been characterised by early and late goals, so neither side was prepared to give an inch early on. This led to some meaty challenges, but the game was played in a sporting manner throughout, and was well handled by experienced Grade One whistler Callum Murray.
Northern Ireland had the first foray into the opposition area as early as the second minute. Persistent play from Curtis Dempster earned a corner on the right hand side. Ross Lavery’s right footed corner was headed clear by Kyle Chalmers, under pressure on the six yard line. The ball arrived at Lavery’s feet again, and this time he crossed dangerously with his left foot. Northern Irish centre-half flicked the in-swinging ball goalwards, but Chalmers was on hand again to block and clear to avert the danger.
Much of the play remained in the midfield area where both sides fought hard for possession of the ball. An excellent outlet for the Scots was left back Lewis Wilson, who was keen to maraud down the flank whenever offered the opportunity. After a quarter of an hour Wilson received a Hardie ball in his stride, beat two opponents and crossed for Scott Hynd on the six yard line. The crowd in the Main Stand rose to greet an opening goal, but the attempt was clutched on the goal-line by Kealan Mulcahy, the visitors’ custodian.
The Ulstermen responded by enjoying a patient spell of possession of their own, which was brought to an end by a challenge from James Yates which was deemed illegal by Mr Murray. The subsequent free-kick was fired over the bar, and it was Scotland’s turn to press, Dishington shooting past the post from 20 yards. Between times, the unfortunate Cameron Stewart had limped off for the visitors.
The huge central defender looked to be playing with an existing knock, given the heavy strapping on his right thigh.
Scotland sought to probe this vacancy in the heart of the Northern Irish defence, and an excellent weapon was the howitzer-like long throw of central defender Chalmers. After 25 minutes the big man launched the ball onto the head of Michael Hardie. Unfortunately for those of a navy blue persuasion, the Drumchapel High midfielder’s header ended up on the wrong side of the post.
A tight offside decision followed two minutes later to deny the lively Dempster the chance to run in on Scotland captain Chris Truesdale’s goal following a neat through-ball from Lavery. However, the big goalie’s skills were demonstated with 31 minutes on the clock as Lavery turned sharply and shot after a Gavin Whyte corner. Truesdale hurled himself to his left to carry out a sharp one-handed save, before Kieran Campbell was able to belt the ball clear.
The game still moved from end to end and five minutes later Jamie Henry demonstrated excellent pace and broke down the right. He tried to catch Mulcahy off guard, but his early strike went over the top, and into the one area of temporary terracing left over from Rangers’ visit. Almost straight from the resultant goal-kick, the men in green probed down the Scottish right. Truesdale again looked very sharp to sprawl across his six yard line to gather Adam Salley’s low driven cross. At this juncture Northern Ireland lost a second player to injury as Daniel Wilson limped off to be replaced by Andrew Hoey.
Again Northern Ireland had lost a defender, and Michael Hardie was desperate to make them pay on the stroke of half-time. After defending a corner the tireless midfielder made a 70 yard break on the right, but just over-hit his cross whilst seeking Hynd in the middle. This was the last action of the half, and Scotland would have gone in at half time pleased with the energy, endeavour and tempo in their play; whilst being perhaps a little disappointed that the score did not reflect the slight superiority they had enjoyed in the first period.
  • Half Time:
  • Scotland Schools
  • 0-0
  • Northern Ireland Schools
Given the energy sapping conditions, fast tempo of the game and the nervous energy expended in many players’ first internationals, it was perhaps inevitable that Scotland head coach Stewart Taylor would make a change at half time. Christopher Liversage entered the fray in place of Conor McKenzie.
Both sides started the half by attempting to probe from deeper positions by using longer passes than had been witnessed in the first half. This almost bore fruit for Northern Ireland in 53 minutes. Adam Salley’s driven pass found Lavery galloping down the right. As he looked to again combine with Dempster, Chalmers was forced to slide and divert the ball towards his own goal, where he was relieved to see his skipper Truesdale gather the ball to his right.
After this opening, it looked like a longer pass, or a deflection of the greasy ball might be the most likely source of the opening goal. Scotland tried the former option in 55 minutes: Campbell fired a pass over the heads of two defenders to Hardie in the area, who struck a powerful shot into the side netting. Northern Ireland profited from the latter option two minutes later: substitute Mark Sykes’ low driven cross flicked off at least one Scottish boot and found the lethal Dempster around five yards out to gleefully divert the ball home with one touch.
Northern Ireland were delirious. They had worked hard since half time, but the game had remained fairly even. It looked like the kind of night where a single goal might decide the destination of the points. Scotland attempted to up the ante. Immediately after the goal Liversage broke strongly down the left and fired in a teasing back post cross which was held by Mulcahy at full stretch. Then, coach Taylor reverted to a more attacking formation by introducing Craig Quinn for Dishington with 25 minutes left. The effect was not immediate, as the visitors dug in valiantly: typified by McIntyre’s yellow card for a rasping challenge on Burns.
As we entered the last 20 minutes we saw a little more from Scotland. A superb break down the left hand side from Liversage allowed him to pull the ball back to Hynd, but the hard-working front-man’s effort was foiled by a sharp sprawling stop from Mulcahy.
Players were noticeably tiring. With a quarter of an hour to go two Northern Irish players needed treatment for cramp, as they chased and harried in attempt to carry off a gutsy win. A flurry of substitutions followed, the visitors removing McIntyre and Lavery to be replaced by Milligan and McMullan, whilst Stewart Taylor made a change which would prove a masterstroke.
Jai Quitongo was introduced for Jamie Henry down the right hand side. Many Scottish fans will fondly remember Jai’s father Jose, a fleet-footed box of tricks who always played the game with a smile on his face. His son would wear a similar grin at the end of the game.
Scotland had closed down every ball, and maintained their levels of effort throughout, but it looked as though time was going to run out. A Chalmers throw had just eluded Liversage in the area with twelve minutes left. There were ten to go when Liversage was denied by the linesman’s flag as he pursued a neat Quinn flick-on. It looked like more of the same when Quitongo chased a ball to the corner flag with Milligan, the Scot a distinct second favourite. His persistence paid off when he emerged from the tussle with the ball and centred looking for Hynd. The cross deflected off an outstretched green sock and bobbled agonisingly over the line for the tired Northern Ireland defence, particularly as only 90 seconds remained on the clock.
There was just time for Kyle Hogg to make his Scotland debut, as he entered in place of James Yates, who had actually been off the field receiving treatment when the ball entered the net. As Mr. Murray’s whistle sounded, both sides would regard a point as a fair result on the balance of the play. The men from the Province might feel a little aggrieved at the timing of the Scottish equaliser, but it serves as a modicum of revenge for Scotland, given that two late Northern Irish strikes snatched victory from the jaws of defeat last year in Dungannon.
Scotland’s next match is at New Douglas Park, Hamilton (by kind permission of Hamilton Academicals F.C.) on Thursday March 20th with a 7pm kick off.
Between times coaches Stewart Taylor and Billy Henderson will be accompanied by International Secretary Les Donaldson on a spying mission to watch Wales take on England in Wrexham on March 14th in preparation for the forthcoming matches against those two sides.
  • Full Time:
  • Scotland Schools
  • 1-1
  • Northern Ireland Schools


Scotland Schools
Northern Ireland Schools
Chris Truesdale (Coatbridge HS)
Kieran Campbell (St. Modan’s HS)
Lewis Wilson (Kilsyth Acad)
James Yates (Perth HS)
Kyle Chalmers (St. Peter the Apostle HS)
Scott Burns (Braidhurst HS)
Jamie Henry (Clydebank HS)
Michael Hardie (Drumchapel HS)
Scott Hynd (Dunfermline HS)
Jamie Dishington (Trinity Acad)
Conor McKenzie (Dunfermline HS)
Kyle Hogg (Leith Acad)
Mikey Hopkins (St. Peter the Apostle HS)
Craig Quinn (Bearsden Acad)
Jai Quitongo (Braidhurst HS)
Chris Liversage (Harlaw Acad)
James Flynn (St. Thomas of Aquin’s HS)
Sean Brennan (Tynecastle HS)
Star Player
Scotland Schools
Northern Ireland Schools
Lewis Wilson turned in a superb display from left back - defensively and going forwards.
Goalscorer Dempster fully deserved his place on the scoresheet, with a neat finish after looking dangerous all afternoon.
Magic Moment
Scotland Schools
Northern Ireland Schools
Jai Quitongo's late strike saw New Bayview on its feet.
Northern Ireland were on course for all three points went Dempster struck early in the second half.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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