Northern Ireland’s Under-21s and Scotland’s U21s drew 1-1 in a friendly in Paisley today.
After losing 3-1 to the Scots in Belfast last week, in the first of two friendlies this month, John Schofield’s side were determined to do better in game two – and they certainly did that.
The game at St Mirren’s SMiSA Stadium was a pretty even and entertaining affair, with both sides keen to get forward.
Northern Ireland U21s boss Schofield made four changes to his starting line-up, while his Scottish counterpart, Scot Gemmill, made seven changes.
Scotland went ahead after just three minutes. Lucas De Bolle played in winger Flynn Clarke and he slotted the ball between Norwich City team-mate Dylan Berry’s legs into the net. It was a neat finish.
Northern Ireland striker Dale Taylor, who was looking sharp, forced a good save out of Scotland keeper Jay Hogarth as the visitors streamed forward.
On 17 minutes Schofield’s boys drew level. Chris McKee held off a couple of challenges down the left flank before feeding the ball to Taylor and he smashed it home.
Taylor, who was a constant threat, almost had another with a stinging drive, but it went the wrong side of the post.
Scotland midfielder Josh Mulligan just missed the target before De Bolle produced a decent shot from the edge of the area which went past the upright.
Both sides had further chances. Scotland midfielder Connor Smith’s volley at the back post flew just over, while down the other end Northern Ireland winger Ross McCausland’s strike was saved by Hogarth.
Berry did well to push away a drilled effort from Tommy Conway. And from the resulting corner he made a good stop from a Josh Mulligan header.
Taylor kept the Scottish defence on their toes and had a couple of shots blocked.
The Scots introduced the lively Ben Doak with half an hour to go and he caused plenty of problems for the visitors’ defence, however they held firm.
Northern Ireland U21s: Dylan Berry, Carl Johnston, Aaron Donnelly (captain), Sam McClelland, Trai Hume, Charlie McCann, Alfie McCalmont, Caolan Boyd-Munce, Dale Taylor, Ross McCausland, Chris McKee. Substitutes: (used) Dylan Boyle, Terry Devlin, Charlie Allen, Matty Lusty, Lewis Mackinnon, Euan Williams; (unused) Dermot Mee, Dane McCullough, Cameron Stewart, Henry Jeffcott.
Scotland U21s: Jay Hogarth, Adam Devine, Josh Reid, Connor McAvoy, Leon King (captain), Lucas De Bolle, Tommy Conway, Connor Smith, Josh Mulligan, Flynn Clarke, Matthew Craig. Substitutes: Cieran Slicker (GK), Sam Long (GK), Ibane Bowat, Ben Doak, Jay Henderson, Michael Craig, Chris Mochrie, Rory Wilson, Archie Meekison.