England's 2-1 win over Scotland gives them victory in The Victory Shield.
By Stuart Mawhinney at Glanford Park. Friday, 08 December 2006.
England 2-1 Scotland
The Sky Sports Victory Shield
8.05pm, Friday 8 December 2006
Scunthorpe United FC, Glanford Park
Live on Sky Sports
Kenny Swain's Young Lions retained the Victory Shield with a determined win over Scotland at Glanford Park, coming from behind to win both the match and the competition outright.
Nicky Ajose and Nathan Delfouneso got the two goals for the home side in a one-sided affair that was made interesting by a fortunate opener for the visitors and some incredible goalkeeping from Grant Adam.
Adam pulled off the first of a string of truly outstanding saves, denying Liverpool midfielder Sean Highdale the opening goal of the game from close range. Dean Parrett's low free kick deflected off the wall into Highdale's path but his side-foot shot was kept out strongly by Adam.
Adam was in action again when John Bostock tested him from distance nine minutes later. Showing fine close control and desire to go past the full-back, Bostock proceeded to wrap his left foot around the ball and curl a 20-yard effort toward the bottom corner.
Oliver Norwood looked certain to score when he caught Nicky Ajose's cut- back sweetly with his left foot from the edge of the box, but somehow Adam denied the Young Lions once more.
It was only the beginning of a trend that would continue throughout the first half as Adam was continuously the punctuation mark that would bring to an end all the England attacks, from Dean Parrett then from Nathan Delfouneso.
Despite their dominance in possession and their stream of clear-cut chances, England conceded the first goal with practically the first effort on goal from the visitors.
It was the Young Lions' own doing as Scotland were presented with the chance to go ahead and did not turn it down. When Declan Rudd could not clear the ball quickly enough, Robert McHugh seized on the ball and showed great composure to drive the ball into the roof of the net from a narrow angle. It was cruel on the home side.
Grant Adam was called upon again as Kenny Swain's side did their best to level the game before half-time, this time it was Nicky Ajose who was denied superbly to take Scotland into the break a goal to the good.
One of the half-time substitutes was the first to test Adam after the break, Harry Forrester fired a thumping shot from 20 yards out as he took the opportunity given to him by some poor marking in the Scotland defence.
England turned the game on its head in the space of six second-half minutes with two fine goals from Ajose and Delfouneso to give the home side a deserved lead for near constant pressure on Scotland and Grant Adam in particular.
Oliver Norwood found his Manchester United team-mate Ajose with a delightfully lofted through ball, and the flying winger wasn't about to miss the opportunity to level the scores. Then it was the turn of Delfouneso to put them ahead, latching onto Highdale's flick through to delight the supporters.
England: 1 Declan Rudd (Norwich City), 2 Chris Solly (Charlton Athletic), 3 David Brown (Sunderland) (12 Adam Smith (Tottenham Hotspur) 40), 4 Sean Highdale (Liverpool), 5 Jack Rodwell (Everton) (c), 6 Thomas Cruise (Arsenal), 7 Nicky Ajose (Manchester United), 8 Dean Parrett (QPR) (15 Harry Forrester (Watford) 40), 9 Nathan Delfouneso (Aston Villa), 10 Oliver Norwood (Manchester United), 11 John Bostock (Crystal Palace) (17 Sanchez Watt (Arsenal) 73)
Subs: 13 Wesley Foderingham (Fulham), 14 Ryan Mason (Tottenham Hotspur), 16 James Ellison (Liverpool), 18 Mitchell McPike (Birmingham City
Goals: Ajose 48, Delfouneso 54
Scotland: 1 Grant Adam (Rangers), 2 Stephen Forbes (Rangers), 3 John Wood (Hearts) (15 Ryan Martin (Motherwell) 40), 4 Scott Durie (Rangers), 5 Daniel Wilson (Rangers), 6 Jamie Ness (Rangers) (17 Sean Fitzharris (Celtic) 73), 7 Daniel Thomson (Hearts), 8 Robert McHugh (Motherwell), 9 Archie Campbell (Rangers), 10 John Fleck (Rangers) (c), 11 Gregg Wilde (Rangers)
Subs: 13 James Wood (Manchester City), 14 Gordon Smith (Livingston), 16 David Love (Hearts), 18 Alex Cooper (Ross County), 19 David McAuliffe (Motherwell)
Goals: McHugh 38