The Senior squad aren't the only England team in the Caribbean, as the C team took on Grenada on Saturday.
Grenada 1-1 England
The National Stadium, St. George's
Saturday 31 May 2008
England C were held to a 1-1 draw by Grenada on Saturday afternoon at a sun drenched National Stadium in the Island’s capital St George’s in what is the first of two games being played in the Caribbean.
After a quiet opening to the game, the first opportunity fell to the home side when Dennis Rennie was played through on goal but failed to control the ball properly and then shot wide.
England’s first chance came after 15 minutes when Andy Burgess hit a superb shot from 20 yards which Charles in the home goal gathered at the second attempt.
The visitors were by now dominating the game with their slick one and two touch movement, which has become a trademark for the team and caught the home side out on a number of occasions.
Martyn Woolford in particular was having a fine debut and proved to be a constant threat down the left and from one such run and cross in the 17th minute, Steve Morison headed just over and four minutes later the same player headed over again following a long throw from Lewis Chalmers.
On 26 minutes Morison again headed narrowly wide following an excellent cross from Kevin Nicholson.
All of England’s control looked in vain on the half hour mark though, when the home side took the lead against the run of play when a through ball from Grenada’s midfield beat the offside trap, allowing Cassim Langaigne to keep his head and slot the ball past Scott Tynan.
This reverse did not deter England and they continued to push forward. With half time approaching, Mitchell Cole was felled by what appeared to be a punch from the home keeper but to everyone’s amazement, referee Bedeau waved away all appeals for a penalty and gave a corner.
There followed four corners in succession with England going close on each occasion. Firstly Wayne Hatswell powered a header against the bar, then Chalmers saw a volley turned away by Charles, before Morision clipped the angle of post and bar and finally Cole just failed to connect with a knock down from Michael Morrison. England continued to pour forward and twice in the final minute of the half they almost snatched an equaliser through Hatswell and then Burgess.
The second half began with Grenada almost adding a second when Nigel Bishop latched onto a pass from Dennis Rennie and bore down on goal, but Tynan pulled off a superb safe by diving at Bishop’s feet and taking the ball cleanly.
This again spurred on the visitors as they continued to take the game to their hosts, who were visibly surprised by the skill and energy levels of the England team.
Fairclough made two changes after 67 minutes replacing Daniel Gleeson and Woolford with Russell Penn and Shaun Harrad, and it was Penn who almost contributed to the equaliser when he crossed for Morrison to head against the post.
There followed a bizarre incident after 70 minutes when substitute goalkeeper Searls and Cole collided in the six yard area. Cole quickly recovered after treatment, but Searls was eventually carried off. The Grenada bench then tried to replace him with Charles who had been substituted at half-time. Their error was quickly pointed out to them and an outfield player finally took over in goal.
England finally got the reward their efforts deserved in the 77th minute when Morison climbed above the home defence to head home a John Brayford cross, much to the delight of his team mates and the sprinkling of England fans in the stadium.
The visitors were clearly not content with a draw and continued to press for the winning goal, first Hatswell went close with a header and then on 82 minutes Harrad had a great chance to win the game. Put through by Chalmers he raced clear of the home defence, drew the keeper but his shot clipped the outside of the post. In between these two efforts, Grenada’s Rennie clipped the top of bar and Bishop hit the side netting after a great run from the half-way line.
A highly competitive game played in a good spirit by two skilful and talented teams eventually ended all square and Fairclough admitted that he was impressed by the energy levels and commitment of his players.
“I was staggered by the way the players coped with the conditions,” he said.
“They actually finished the stronger of the two teams which was testament to their fitness levels and commitment to playing for their country.
“It is probably the most competitive game that the side has played since I took over as manager and I was very proud at the final whistle although a little disappointed by the result.
“We dominated over 90 minutes, hit the woodwork five or six times and played the better football.”
His opposite number Norris Wilson was also impressed by the standard of play show by the England side.
“They played some great stuff which belied the ‘C’ tag to the team name,” he said.
“I was impressed, they were certainly a much higher standard team than we had envisaged.”England:
Scott Tynan (Northwich Victoria) John Brayford (Burton Albion), Michael Morrison, Wayne Hatswell (both Cambridge United), Kevin Nicholson (Torquay United), Andy Burgess (Rushden & Diamonds), Daniel Gleeson (Cambridge United) (
Russell Penn (Kidderminster Harriers), 67)
, Lewis Chalmers (Aldershot Town), Martyn Woolford (York City) (
Shaun Harrad (Burton Albion), 67)
, Steve Morison (Stevenage Borough) (
John Shaw (Halifax Town), 82)
, Mitchell Cole (Stevenage Borough)Subs not used:
Adam Bartlett (Kidderminster Harriers), James Smith (Ebbsfleet Utd)Attendance: