Just 48 hours on from an 11-0 victory over Jersey’s U16/17 side, Scotland were made to work an awful lot harder for last night’s win, with a mixture of the older Jersey boys’ improved speed, strength – and determination not to be on the wrong side of a hiding – giving the visitors’ just the stern kind of test they need ahead of their forthcoming international commitments.
Dave Walsh’s Jersey boys certainly emerge with great credit for a committed and well-organised performance that in the first half restricted Scotland to one close range goal from Gordon Smith (the only Scotland player not on a professional club’s books).
Jersey kept a good shape and had done their homework well in regard to John Fleck the Scotland captain and playmaker in chief, though he still looked a class act and a threat when given any room at all.
Jersey’s was a real team performance first and foremost, but the contributions of Sam Habin, a thoroughly committed defender, and midfielders Michael Weir and Danny Flynn caught the eye, in particular, before a flood of substitutions from both sides disturbed the flow of the game in the second half.
Jersey’s golden moment arrived soon after the restart and was deserved for pluck alone, although it took an almighty dollop of good fortune to have Flynn’s well struck effort from the edge of the box wickedly deflected past Grant Adams, via a post.
All square and with Jersey tails up it looked likely to be a real challenge for the Scots, but it was one they quickly rose to meet.
They took but a few short minutes to regain the lead, having in that time struck the woodwork and forced a tremendous block from ‘keeper Gregg Forster.
And it was a superbly taken goal from left midfielder Ryan Martin, who guided the ball low past Forster after and opening had been created by David Love.
Although Flynn twice more forced saves from Grant, Scotland were now bringing on their more established players and, if not firing on all cylinders, they were starting to flow a little better up front.
The introduction of Archie Campbell, a hat-trick man two days earlier, soon reaped rewards when his electric pace took him clear of the home defence and his composure carried him and the ball around the outrushing Forster for the third..
Both managers were pleased with the performances: Walsh glad his side had given Scotland the test ‘they deserved’ and Scotland head coach Ross Mathie agreeing that he, too, had got more out of the second match than the first ‘though both were good for different reasons.’ Said Mathie: ‘It’s been an excellent trip.
We’ve had tremendous training facilities and two good games, the first for set plays and movement, tonight’s for having to work harder all round.’ The players were presented with mementoes from the JFA in a short reception after the match.
Jersey U18s: Greg Forster, Jason de Andrade, Tom Wiggley, Pierce Cummins, Sam Habin, Darren A’Court, Michael Weir, Jamie Cullen, David Kenyon, Elliot Fernandes and Danny Flynn.
Subs (all used): Dominic Quaeck, Jack Boyle, Callum Black, Ben Andrews, Adam Russell, Ricki Figueira, Will Golder and Joe Davies.
Scotland U16s: Grant Adam, Stephen Forbes, David McAulliffe, Scott Durie, Daniel Wilson, Robert McHugh, John Fleck, Michael O’Halloran, Ryan Martin, David Love and Gordon Smith.
Subs (all used): Jamie Ness, Daniel Thomson, Archie Campbell, Sean Fitzharris and Alex Cooper.
Officials: Chris Boyle; Ian Solomon, Peter Smith; Maciek Mumot.