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Scotland finish strong to see off Auld Enemy

Scotland 2

Barron 67, Ecrepont 75

England 0

  • Thursday, 27 July 2017
  • Forthbank Stadium, Stirling
  • Under 16´s
  • Under 16s International Tournament

Scotland continued their good international form with a well-fought win over their southern neighbours in Stirling. This may have been another clash with the auld enemy but this match was definitely about the new vein of players and how both nations compared to each other in 2017.

Forget your Gemmells, Shearers and Dalglishs, this was a chance to see what players were destined to take their places in English and Scottish history books. The passion was still there, though, just like any other game between the two sides at any age group. This was clear as both teams sung their national anthems with pride ahead of the match, this was patriotism in the form of sport.

England kicked off and made sure to press high up the pitch and make this Scotland back line react with tetchy clearances and mistakes on the ball. England found most of their initial attacking threats through the left back Matthew Bondswell as Scotland’s Cameron Logan often sat too narrow allowing Bondswell a lot of space to easily collect the diagonal balls played to him and run at the backtracking Logan, often causing problems for the centre backs who would have to clear with last-ditch tackles to keep the scores level.

Bondswell was booked on six minutes after slicing Cameron Logan from behind which allowed Scotland to slow the pace down and get involved in the game which eventually resulted in them winning a free kick on the left wing.

The ball was chipped by Connor Smith to the back post where miraculously Cole Starrs, Josh Grigor and the captain Ben Cameron were all unmarked but Starrs’ header was tame and Harvey Collins in the England goal collected with ease.

Just as the first half was drawing to a close, England’s Rafael Garcia, who had in truth struggled to be effective in the game up to this point, took a pass from the left and was dragged to the floor by Ben Cameron just inside the box as Garcia attempted to shift the ball onto his right foot.

The referee Colin Steven pointed to the spot and Tottenham’s Nonso Madeuke stepped up to take the penalty just before half time. Madeuke’s side stepping run aimed to confuse Jack Newman in the Scotland goal but the ‘keeper confidently leaped to his bottom left to tip the shot wide and then stood tall to block Alexander Mightem’s rebound effort. An excellent display from Newman to round off a fairly even first half. 

  • Half Time:
  • Scotland
  • 0-0
  • England

Karamoko Dembele was the star attraction for many of the fans coming to the game following his media storm when he made his debut for the Celtic U20s at 13 years old. Dembele had struggled to get involved in the game for the first 40 minutes though, often being bullied off the ball by his much more sizeable opponents. To Scotland’s advantage he turned his performance around in the second half, almost setting up Finn Ecrepont for the first goal of the game.

Dembele’s key moment in the match came in the event of Scotland’s penalty opportunity on 52 minutes. He charged at England ‘keeper Harvey Collins as he took a little too much time on the ball causing the ball to fall to Motherwell’s Cole Starrs who was brought down just inside the box on the right side by Jeriel Dorsett who was running back to support his goalkeeper bereft of passing options.

It was Ben Cameron to take the penalty at the same goal where Nonso Madeuke had had his shot saved at the end of the first half. Starrs, who had won the penalty, looked to be the original taker but the captain seemed to pull rank and decided he was going to take it himself as Starrs walked away pretty disappointed. This decision proved to be unwise as Harvey Collins dove to his right to palm away the weak spot kick and keep the game goalless.

This seemed to take the wind out of Scotland’s sails and Dan Micciche’s men noticed this. England went on with rapid wing play from Mightem and Bondswell as England sought to correct the mistake in their missed penalty with Scotland just surviving a scramble in the box and substitute Benjamin Knight’s effort going just wide of the right post.

Scotland’s first goal came on 67 minutes when once again the England backline was put under pressure when dawdling on possession. The front line of Liam Miller and Cole Starrs forced a mistake of Oliver Pendlebury and allowed Dembele’s substitute Connor Barron to lob the ball on to the crossbar from 25 yards which rebounded back in went in off the helpless Collins running back to his goal line.

The goal slightly went against the run of play as England looked comfortable but Scotland punished them for their complacency on the ball and put Brian McLaughlin’s boys in front.

Scotland almost added a second just after as Newman’s goal kick sailed over everyone including the outrushing Harvey Collins who had to dash back to palm the ball against Andrew Winter who anticipated the bounce of the ball and almost got a shot on goal.

Scotland killed off the game five minutes from time when Ben Cameron’s long free kick was sent to Reece McAlear in the box who headed the ball across to the back post where Finn Ecrepont tapped in past Collins.

An excellently worked goal from the three players involved made sure that Scotland secured the three points in a very even game for much of the 80 minutes.

England had proved a much more testing opponent than Qatar on Tuesday but Brian McLaughlin’s boys seemed up to the task and made sure to their the few opportunites that came in the game. They now face Uruguay on Saturday to finish off this Under 16s International Tournament.

  • Full Time:
  • Scotland
  • 2-0
  • England


1. Jack Newman
2. Kane Patterson
3. Finn Ecrepont
4. Jamie Hamilton
5. Ben Cameron
6. Cameron Logan
8. Connor Smith
9. Cole Starrs
10. Karamoko Dembele
11. Andrew Winter
12. Robbie Hemfrey
13. Liam Miller
14. Josh Grigor
15. Adam Kettings
16. Dylan Forrest
17. Reece McAlear
18. Jensen Weir
19. Michael Sparkes
20. Liam Morrison
22. Connor Barron
1. Daniel Jinadu
2. Myles Peart-Harris
3. Matthew Bondswell
4. Oliver Pendlebury
5. Dynel Simeu
6. Nathan Wood-Gordon
7. Benjamin Knight
8. Teddy Hoare
9. Morgan Rogers
10. Fabio Carvahlo
11. Alexander Mightem
12. Samuel Caiger
13. Harvey Collins
14. Tristan Cover
15. Jeriel Dorsett
16. Rafael Garcia
17. Sam Greenwood
18. Nonso Madeuke
19. Charlie McCann
20. Claudio Osorio
Star Player
Dylan Forrest was impenetrable in the middle of Scotland's midfield three, he rarely lost the ball and always made something happen when he had it. Whenever there was high pressure by the England front line he alwasy managed to wriggle his way out and pass the ball onwards. He also contributed massively to covering the back four with fantastic marking and jockeying but also with perfectly timed committed tackles when the opportunity arose.
Matthew Bondswell managed to have Cameron Logan in his back pocket for most of the first half, always finding himself in space to have the ball sent to him and run down the line often crossing dangerously or cutting inside to shift the danger area to the edge of the box. His attacking efforts dimmed in the second half but he stuck more to his duty as a traditional full back, covering his wing well and distributing the ball accordingly.
Magic Moment
The second goal was magical as Ben Cameron spotted Andrew Winter free in the box and placed the perfect pass right to his head but in stead of Winter trying a shot himself and stopping the attacking movement in its tracks, he showed good awareness to lob the ball to the back post and have Ecrepont tap in without the ball ever touching the ground in this play.
Despite being substituted on half time, Charlie McCann managed to make the most of his time on the pitch when he collected the ball on the left side about 40 yards out and skip past each of the three Scotland midfielders taking the ball to the right side of the box where his shot was blocked, a great piece of improvisation by McCann when no passing opportunity was available.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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