Forth Valley and Lanarkshire draw in National Trophy section

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A late double by Andrew Arthur (Holy Cross High School) secured a deserved draw for Lanarkshire in their second National Trophy sectional game against Forth Valley at Hamilton Palace.

The visitors had taken a two-goal lead, but Andrew’s goals led to a tense finish and the result means that there is going to be a nail-biting
finish to the group 
qualification.

The game was of high quality with both teams managing to produce constructive, thoughtful football and Lanarkshire certainly had 
the major share of possession.

They secured a string of corners but could not penetrate the solid defence of Forth Valley and half-time arrived with a blank scoreline.

Forth Valley made a couple of substitutions and tweaked their shape a little for the second half and it was the visitors who broke the deadlock after 55 minutes.

A deep free-kick delivered by Steven McGuigan (Stirling High School) was met by Robbie Davis (Alva Academy) and he rose unchallenged to head home powerfully.

Only a couple of minutes later it was 2-0 for Forth Valley when Aaron Bryson (Graeme High School) and half-time sub Gavin Campbell (McLaren High School) combined well. Gavin remained calm and his cool finish left Lanarkshire wondering how they were two goals down.

Forth Valley goalkeeper Jordan Brown (Denny High School) had two great saves before eventually Lanarkshire netted twice, both goals with well-struck shots from the edge of the box.

But Forth Valley refused to buckle and the game ended in a 2-2 draw.

In the penalty shoot-out, which is only relevant if teams tie for a qualification spot, Forth Valley scored from four of their five attempts while keeper Jordan Brown saved two of the Lanarkshire kicks, so Forth Valley came out on top 4-2.

The outcome of the group remains in the balance with the final round of games, West Lothian v Forth Valley and Ayrshire v Lanarkshire, still to be played.

Any of the four teams could yet gain one of the two qualification spots available.

The West Lothian v Forth Valley encounter is likely to be scheduled for Thursday next week.

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