Scotland threw away a two goal lead in the second half to draw against Wales in the Victory Shield.
Two goals from Jamie Semple before half time, the first a header and the second a well struck half volley, had put Scotland in a commanding position going into the break.
But Wales, who rarely in threatened in the first half, responded well and had pulled a goal back within minutes of the restart thanks to a Isaak Davies tap in.
Scotland introduced 13 year old Karamoko Dembele midway through the second half but by then Wales were in control and they eventually equalised with ten minutes to go with a spectacular volley from Keenan Patten.
The hosts, who made five changes from the side that beat Northern Ireland 2-0 on Sunday, were the brighter team early in the game.
Kieran McGrath lead the line well on his own and the striker had the first opportunity of the game, heading over from six yards after Kane O’Connor had done well to nod the ball across goal. McGrath then tried his luck from range as he fired a shot from 25 yards over the bar.
Wales were unable to keep the ball and Scotland had them pinned back in their own half. Scotland were also looking dangerous from corners and Billy Gilmour’s delivery was excellent all afternoon.
They eventually took a deserved lead after 26 minutes. Scotland did well to work the ball from left to right, Harry Cochrane switched the play and found Gilmour, who fed the ball into Chris Hamilton on the edge of the box. His first time ball round the corner found winger Zac Butterworth, who reached the ball on the byline before clipping a cross towards the back post. Rising highest in the area was Semple and his downward header took a deflection before looping up and over Wales goalkeeper Dan Burden and into the net.
Gilmour went close to doubling his side’s lead soon after. Wales failed to deal with a corner and as the ball dropped in the area, Gilmour ran in from the left and unleashed a fierce shot which smashed against the near post.
But on the 30 minute mark, Scotland did find the target. Kane O’Connor was the creator. After striding forward, the centre half looked up and spotted Semple’s run behind the Welsh right back. He then played a floating, diagonal ball that dropped just over the defender’s head and into Semple’s path. The striker took the ball on his chest and waited for the ball to sit up, before volleying a left footed shot into the far corner.
Wales hadn’t created any significant chances in the first half, but found themselves back in the game within minutes of the restart. It was sloppy from Scotland, who gave the ball away on the right, but Wales’ Cavan Williams low ball across the box was excellent, putting the ball on a plate for Issak Davies to finish high into the net.
Scotland continued to create more chances but they weren’t able to extend their lead. First, Gilmour’s run down the right and ball into the box only needed a touch, but his cross evaded everyone. Then, Semple went close to scoring his third after he headed McGrath’s cross from the right onto the bar.
After 60 minutes, Wales started to grow into the game thanks to a few positive substitutions. Cavan Williams should have equalised after finding himself in loads of space on the left side of the box, but his shot was straight at Scotland goalkeeper Ryan Mullen.
Davies was next to go close. The striker did extremely well to bring down a long ball on the run, before cutting inside his defender. His right footed shot from the angle was heading for the top right corner, but Mullen intervened to turn it round the post.
Wales substitute Jack Vale in particular was making a good impact on the game. With the pressure on their goal increasing, Scotland failed to clear a corner and the ball dropped in the area to Vale’s feet. After shifting the ball onto his right foot, Vale found himself in space and managed to fire an effort on goal that flashed wide of the left post.
Scotland’s substitutes were not having the same effect. Karamoko Dembele looked bright and dangerous on the right of the pitch, his touch was superb and he looked capable of beating his man with ease, but any threat that he could’ve offered was diminished when the 13 year old was moved into the middle of the attack.
Scotland were unable to get out and a Wales goal looked inevitable. Mullen had to relied upon again, this time to deny Vale after he had been slipped through on goal, palming his low effort wide of the post.
There was nothing Mullen could do, however, about Wales’ equaliser. It came from the resulting corner, which Scotland must have thought they’d dealt with after heading clear. Instead, the ball dropped to Keenan Patten on the edge of the box and his first time, left foot volley flew straight into the far corner.
Scotland’s players collapsed onto the pitch at the final whistle, but a draw means that they can still win the Victory Shield against Ireland on Friday. The Scots will have to win, though, as Ireland have won both of their games so far.