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Disappointing Scotland collapse in Toulon semi against England

Scotland 1

Johnston 31

England 3

Connolly 44, Nketiah 49, 69
  • Wednesday, 06 June 2018
  • Toulon, France
  • Under 21´s
  • Toulon Tournament

Andrew Petrie | YFS South East Region Journalist

Scotland squandered early chances and switched off in the second-half, allowing England relatively easy passage to the Toulon Tournament final. Mikey Johnston’s individual wondergoal put the Scots ahead, but a goal from Callum Connolly and a brace from Eddie Nketiah secured the win for the Young Lions.

Oliver Burke came closest to opening the scoring. The powerful winger received a high through ball, and his good first touch took him away from Jake Clarke-Salter, but his low shot smacked the face of the post and the chance was gone.

England's best first-half chance came to Everton midfielder Kieran Dowell. Keeping the ball in well, Eddie Nketiah curved a cross to the back-post. Callum Connolly nodded it back into the middle, but his knock-down evaded Dowell and Scotland cleared.

But, it was Scotland who took the lead with an absolutely stunning goal from Mikey Johnston. The Celtic winger picked the ball up on the half-way line, skipped past Connolly and Dowell and cut onto his right as the crowd got to their feet in anticipation. He then cut back onto his left, surged into the box past Jonjoe Kenny and blasted past Freddie Woodman from a tight angle.

Tempers flared before half time when two very late challenges seemed to go unpunished. Firstly, Nketiah went flying in late on 16-year-old Billy Gilmour, and then Ronaldo Vieira swung wildly at Jason Kerr. Handbags ensued, but the Mexican referee brandished no cards. 

  • Half Time:
  • Scotland
  • 1-0
  • England

It only took England four second half minutes to equalize. Nketiah took the ball deep into the box and squared it across the six-yard box, as the Scotland defence froze in unison. It was a simple job for wing-back Callum Connolly, the only player seemingly awake in the box, and he tapped home from two yards.

Nketiah got himself on the scoresheet five minutes later. Receiving the ball near the box, he turned and nutmegged Anthony Ralston, skipped past Gilmour and took it onto his right foot, where he unleashed a powerful, curled shot into the corner. It was a quick and dramatic turnaround, and England now lead 2-1.

Ronaldo Vieira was booked for another brutal challenge in the midfield, and he was perhaps lucky to be on the pitch after his tackle late in the first-half.

Nketiah got his second of the game and England’s third in the 69th minute. A sloppy touch from Jason Kerr gave the ball back to Lewis Cook, and the England captain played Arsenal striker Nketiah through on goal. Chopping the ball onto his left-foot, he tried to curve past McCrorie. The Scottish goalie got a hand on it, but it wasn’t enough to push it wide, and England moved two goals clear with ten minutes left.

Fraser Hornby tested Woodman twice before the full-time whistle. Firstly, he showed good strength to get away from Clarke-Salter on the right-hand side, and with a good touch took the ball back inside onto his weaker left foot, but his shot was straight at Woodman. He then went close from a central free-kick, curling over the wall but not far enough away from the Newcastle keeper.

The game finished 3-1 after Scotland's disappointing second-half collapse. Once England went ahead it never looked like changing and the Scots couldn't keep hold of possession, despite Billy Gilmour's best efforts. Ultimately, England's quality and clinical finishing saw them through, and they will face Mexico in the 2018 Toulon Tournament final.

  • Full Time:
  • Scotland
  • 1-3
  • England


12. Robby McCrorie
2. Anthony Ralston
3. Greg Taylor
4. Jason Kerr
5. Ryan Porteous
20. Allan Campbell
16. Billy Gilmour
13. Iain Wilson
7. Oliver Burke
8. Mikey Johnston
9. Fraser Hornby
1. Ross Doohan
6. Daniel Harvie
10. Liam Burt
11. Scott Wright
14. Elliot Watt
15. Glenn Middleton
17. Harvey St. Clair
18. Craig Wighton
19. Chris Hamilton
1. Freddie Woodman
2. Jonjoe Kenny
5. Dael Fry
12. Jake Clarke-Salter
17. Callum Connolly
4. Lewis Cook
10. Ronaldo Vieira
14. Jay Dasilva
7. Kieran Dowell
11. Adam Armstrong
19. Eddie Nketiah
13. Aaron Ramsdale
3. Kyle Walker-Peters
6. Fikayo Tomori
8. Tom Davies
9. Tammy Abraham
15. Ezri Konsa
16. Hamza Choudhury
18. Tom Pearce
Star Player
Billy Gilmour: The only Scottish player who looked comfortable in possession - and he did this effortlessly for 80 minutes. A real talent, considering he was playing with team mates generally 4 years his elder. Very cultured, with a real eye for a pass.
Eddie Nketiah: Set up England's first and scored the others. Didn't have many chances but he took them well when presented to him. A constant threat who Scotland failed to deal with.
Magic Moment
Mikey Johnston's goal. We thought we had seen the goal of the tournament when Oliver Burke took on the entire South Korean team, but this was something else. Against a defence of real quality, Johnston took them to the sword with skill that made the crowd audibly gasp.
Lewis Cook was a class above his teammates in some regards. His eye for a pass and technique when distributing the ball was of a very high standard, and it is no surprise that he has started to make waves on the South Coast.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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