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Scotland with one foot in European Championships following Serbia win

Scotland 1

Middleton 22

Serbia 0

  • Sunday, 19 March 2017
  • St Mirren Park
  • Under 17´s
  • European Under-17 Chamionship 2017
Simon Ritchie

Simon Ritchie | YFS City of Glasgow Senior Reporter
Author's Bio | Articles by Author | sritchie@youthfootballscotland.co.uk

Scotland have one foot in the European Under-17 Championships following a 1-0 win over Serbia at St Mirren Park. Glenn Middleton’s goal midway through the first half was enough to give the home side the victory in a tight match with chances few and far between.

The game got off to a slow start, both sides struggling to get a good passing move together. Scotland’s front three of Middleton, Jack Aitchison, and Zak Rudden were playing too close together, all being dragged down the Serbian’s left. Rudden, who was playing wide right, was forced deep often to cover the runs of Dimitrije Kamenovic and Zeljko Gavric.

It took 17 minutes for either side to register an effort on goal, and it was Serbia’s Filip Stuparevic with a shot over the bar from outside the area. But just as Serbia looked to be making headway into the Scotland half, they were hit by a quick counter attack which proved to be devastating.

The pacey Middleton was involved in breaking away and winning a corner and when Elliot Watt sent it deep to the back post, Kerr McInroy had the time and presence of mind to bring it down and pick out Middleton on the edge of the box. A touch to open up his body and make the space and another to find the bottom corner past Milos Gordic. 1-0. It was his second goal in two matches following his effort against Montenegro on Friday.

Serbia almost caught Scotland cold from the restart, Stuparevic getting only the slightest of touches to Milutin Vidosavljevic’s cross and failing to find the net from a little over six-yards.

Having avoided the scare, Scotland managed to carve a couple of half chances themselves. McInroy blazed over after Rudden’s driving run had opened up Serbia’s defence, and Middleton forced a good save from Gordic after the Scot’s winger’s pace had put him through.

Crosses seemed to be Serbia’s most likely route to goal and they had their best opportunity of the match just before half-time when Gavric’s cross found Kamenovic, the full-back covering a large amount of ground to put himself in a position to equalise, but he somehow contrived to put it over the bar, the Scottish defence deserving credit for putting him off.

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

Having spotted how narrow his side were playing in the first half, Scott Gemmill seemed to tell Middleton to hug the left touchline in the second half and try and stretch Serbia.

The lightning fast forward had been drifting into the middle too often in the opening 40 minutes and now with space to run into he was causing havoc for the Serbian defence. Dancing between two defenders he cut in on the byline but his cross was a touch too heavy for Rudden coming in at the back post.

Scotland were succeeding in crowding Serbia out of the middle of the pitch even with Middleton wide left and it was all thanks to the impressive efforts of McInroy, Watt, and Jonathan Mitchell. They were first to every ball, putting in total commitment and preventing Serbia linking midfield and attack.

Ivan Ilic caught the eye for Serbia as he tried to drag his side back into the game but with McInroy, Watt, and Mitchell in the middle there was little he could do. Unsurprisingly Mitchell and McInroy had to be subbed before the end as they had ran out of gas, while Watt who lasted the full 80 had to be treated for cramp – a sign of the effort all three of them had shown.

The most dangerous moment Scotland had to survive in the final half hour was when goalkeeper Josh Donaldson was punished for the rarely enforced six-second rule, resulting in an indirect free-kick for Serbia in the Scottish box. However, a solid wall and a quick rush ensured it came to nothing.

Although the Serbians saw more of the ball in the latter stages, they failed to turn their possession into any real pressure on the Scotland goal, and Middleton always looked more dangerous as an out ball on the counter attack than anything the Serbians could muster.

Scotland now just need a single point from their tie against Switzerland to qualify for the tournament proper.

 

  • Full Time:
  • Scotland
  • 1-0
  • Serbia

Lineups

Scotland
Serbia
1. Josh Donaldson
3. Daniel Church
4. Stephen Welsh
5. Robbie Deas
6. Jonathan Mitchell
7. Jack Aitchison
8. Elliot Watt
9. Zak Rudden
11. Glenn Middleton
16. Kerr McInroy
17. Jordan Houston
12. Jon Mccracken
2. Lewis Mayo
10. Lewis Hutchison
13. Sebastian Ross
14. Innes Cameron
15. Lewis Smith
18. Aaron Reid
12. Milos Gordic
2. Boris Popovic
4. Ivan Ilic
6. Jovan Vladimir Pavlovic
7. Marko Jankovic
8. Zeljko Gavric
9. Filip Stuparevic
10. Armin Djerlek
13. Aleksandar Kostic
16. Dimitrije Kamenovic
17. Milutin Vidosavljevic
1. Aleksa Kilojevic
3. Zlatan Sehovic
5. Svetozar Markovic
11. Mihajlo Neskovic
14. Igor Sepahi
15. Vanja Zvekanov
18. Slobodan Babic
Star Player
Scotland
Serbia
Glenn Middleton. Other than the goal, which he took excellently, Middleton was Scotland's main attacking threat throughout the match both in terms of creating chances for teammates and getting himself in front of goal. A key performer.
Although it never looked like being Serbia's day, Ivan Ilic kept pushing his teammates forward and tried to make things hapen alongside his captain Armin Djerlek.
Magic Moment
Scotland
Serbia
Glenn Middleton helped create the goal with his quick counter attack, and he was on hand to execute the perfect finish which proved to be the winner. But great credit must go to Kerr McInroy who controlled the ball and picked the right pass, all while under pressure in the Serbia box.
Dimitrije Kamenovic had an impressive first half from left back for Serbia, keeping Scotland's right forward Zack Rudden on the backfoot and preventing him getting into as many attacking positions as he would have liked, and he should have equalised when Gavric's cross found him only a few yards out. An equaliser right on half-time would certainly have changed the complexion of the game.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
Last modified on Thursday, 23 March 2017 11:36
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