A goal on the hour mark from Wales midfielder Ifan Jones was all that separated two well-matched sides in the under-18 schoolboy Centenary Shield international at Inverurie last night.
More than 800 sup-porters, including a huge throng of enthusiastic youngsters, created a tremendous atmosphere at Harlaw Park but the Scotland players were unable to deliver the victory they craved against an efficient and organised Wales team.
Scotland had Deveronvale’s Bradley Manson and Liam Strachan, of Turriff United, in the midfield with Aberdeen youngster Seyon Koshoedo in attack, while 16-year-old Caley Thistle defender Ryan McRitchie found a place on the bench alongside Cove Rangers forward Lachie MacLeod.
The home side drew its opening game of the Centenary Shield tournament 1-1 against Northern Ireland so a win was imperative to keep chances of winning the trophy outright for the first time since 2000 alive.
Wales started strongly, forcing two early corners, but the Scotland defence dealt confidently with the threat on each occasion.
In the 10th minute Scotland forced a corner, played short to the diminutive Koshoedo, but his powerful 15-yard drive was charged down.
Wales responded with a raking 20-yard drive from Nathan Woods which Scotland goalkeeper Fraser Morton did well to tip over the crossbar.
With his tricks, twists and turns Koshoedo was proving a handful for the visitors’ defence while Strachan looked very comfortable in his central midfield role.
Scotland almost broke the deadlock on the half hour mark, but Wales goalkeeper Jacob Lloyd brilliantly turned a net-bound Morgan Reid 15-yard drive over the top.
Five minutes later Lloyd was again called into action to punch away a John Cunningham effort as Scotland started to up the pressure.
At the break Scotland replaced forward Mark Smith with Aberdeen Grammar School pupil MacLeod, a youth team player with Cove Rangers.
Wales created space just after the break when Tomas Bibby played in Woods, but on this occasion the visiting attacker rushed his shot and the ball looped harmlessly over the crossbar.
Danger man Woods was in the thick of the action shortly after but this time with no support he shot harmlessly wide of the upright from 12 yards.
But on the hour mark Scotland were undone when the ball was played in from the left and Ifan Jones side-footed home the opener from eight yards.
Scotland huffed and puffed for a leveller and in the fourth minute of added time Lloyd brilliantly tipped a Koshoedo 20-yard free kick over the bar and the final whistle blew seconds later.