England win the battle with the Scots
Written By: Robert Halter
After one hundred and thirteen meetings between England and Scotland, it was the first time that The Three Lions had played the Scots in a World Cup qualifying match, as both sides met on a November Friday night at Wembley stadium. In the fourth minute, a shot by James Forrest from outside the box was comfortably saved by Joe Hart, following an assist by Lee Wallace. On twenty minutes, after Christophe Berra pushed Raheem Sterling in the back, a free kick from Three Lions captain, Wayne Rooney, struck against Grant Hanley at the top of the Scotland wall, before the ball skidded past the right post. But it was England that broke through in the twenty third minute, as Sterling weaved his way forward and as the ball deflected off Hanley, a cross from the right by Kyle Walker, was headed home by Daniel Sturridge, high into the centre of the goal. The Scots looked for a response four minutes later, but from a Robert Snodgrass corner, the ball was ballooned over from a header by Hanley. A mistake by Rooney, gifted an opportunity to Leigh Griffiths, but he could not seize the initiative with a lack lustre effort which took a nick off Gary Cahill, before the ball rolled back to Hart, just before the half hour mark. In the thirty third minute, from a pull back from Scott Brown, a shot by Scottish captain, Darren Fletcher, went wide of the mark. Three minutes into the second half, the ball was put across by Lee Wallace, and dummied by Griffiths, but the chance went begging for Scotland, as Forrest steered the ball wide of the right post. Then a minute later, Snodgrass fired directly at John Stones, in a goal scoring position, from a ball over by Wallace. The Scots were made to punish for missed chances, as England forged further ahead in the fiftieth minute, as Danny Rose swung the ball over from the left, and a diving header by Adam Lallana, flew past Craig Gordon, into the right side of the goal. It left Scotland with a mountain to climb, as Forrest found James Morrison in space, but he failed to trouble Hart, who dealt with the situation, three minutes later. In the fifty seventh minute, after Cahill was cautioned for pulling back Forrest, from a free kick by Snodgrass, a failed clearance by Stones, was latched upon by Griffiths, but he struck the ball over. In the sixty first minute, England were out of reach, when Rooney’s corner was met with a well timed header by Cahill, that left Gordon clambering to try and keep the ball out, but his hand could only serve as an assist, in helping the goal on its way. Scotland made a change as James McArthur replaced Morrison. In the seventieth minute, Jordan Henderson put the ball on a plate for Sterling, but under the goal posts, he blazed over. In the next two minutes, Snodgrass miscued a header in a good position, after an over the top delivery by Forrest, as Scotland counted the cost of not converting their opportunities. England then switched strikers with Jamie Vardy on for Sturridge. An enforced change was made by the Scots as Ikechi Anya pulled up injured while under threat by Vardy and Callum Patterson took over, before a further Scottish substitution as Matt Ritchie appeared for Snodgrass. In stoppage time, Rooney was cautioned for a tug on Griffiths, and from a direct free kick, Griffiths sent a long range strike over the upright, on a night to forget for the Tartan army as the Three Lions roared to victory to stay top of Group F and mark a notable win for England interim manager Gareth Southgate to leave Scotland boss, Gordon Strachan, seeing his team demoted to fifth position in the table.