Local lads star for Scotland

14/12/12 - 12121409 - MATERIAL MARKETING'TORYGLEN'Llyods TSB's Scotland U18's schoolboys - Craig Neil (left), Aaron Splane
14/12/12 - 12121409 - MATERIAL MARKETING'TORYGLEN'Llyods TSB's Scotland U18's schoolboys - Craig Neil (left), Aaron Splane

Aaron Splane from the Douglas Ewart High School, in Newton Stewart, and Craig Neil from Wallacehall Academy, Dumfries, were among the Lloyds TSB Scotland Under 18 Schoolboys squad that suffered a second successive defeat in this year’s Centenary Shield.

The young Scots were looking to bounce back from their opening day loss to Northern Ireland but went down 2-0 in Bangor to a Welsh squad in buoyant mood after their 4-1 thrashing of England.

The Welsh showed their intentions from the start and almost opened the scoring on four minutes when Josh Jones flashed a header narrowly passed Michael Dunn’s right-hand post.

The Scotland keeper had to look lively again moments later, first holding onto a long-range effort from John Littlemore before smothering a Lestyn Evans free-kick.

The Welsh pressure was building and eventually paid off in the 12th minute. Littlemore picked up Dunn’s loose kick and found Rhydian Davies on the right side of the box who finished low across the keeper to open the scoring for Wales.

Four minutes later, Scotland found themselves two goals behind. A weak effort from Davies was stopped at the edge of the box by teammate Ryan Hedges who turned and rifled the ball low into the bottom corner.

Scotland quickly rallied through Declan McDaid whose shot was comfortably saved by the Welsh keeper. McDaid remained Scotland’s biggest threat but they couldn’t find a way back into the game before half-time.

Wales began the second half with a similar tempo to that of the first, and could have gone further ahead when the busy Littlemore headed just wide.

Declan McDaid’s performance was a ray of sunshine for Scotland and 10 minutes into the second half, he set off on a winding run which beat three men down the right before cutting the ball inside to Gavin Thompson who was thwarted by Lestyn Evans on the six-yard line.

As the half wore on, the young Scots grew more into the game but just couldn’t find that elusive goal which would have brought them back into the match.

Late on, Scotland almost lost a third goal when captain Stuart Close slid the ball passed the advancing Michael Dunn, but the St Andrew’s High keeper was able to scramble back and clear the ball before it crossed the line.

Having now lost their opening two Centenary Shield fixtures, the Scottish squad will want to prove themselves in their remaining two matches. Up next is the Republic of Ireland at Bellslea Park, Fraserburgh, on Wednesday, March 27, at 7pm.