England C start strongly
Thursday, 27 May, 2010
England C get their ICT campaign off to a winning start.
Republic of Ireland 1-2 England C
International Challenge Trophy
Waterford United FC
Wednesday 26 May 7.45pm
England C began their International Challenge Trophy qualifying campaign with a superb 2-1 victory against the Republic of Ireland in Waterford, Co. Kilkenny on Wednesday night.
Paul Fairclough’s squad showed a number of changes since the last outing in Poland in November and having struggled to overcome a stubborn defensive-minded East of Scotland League XI in a warm-up match in Edinburgh the previous Saturday, knew that only a win in Waterford would be sufficient to help to ensure semi-final qualification from what is a three team Group.
The game began at a fast pace with the home side, urged on by the crowd, making most of the early exchanges and they almost took the lead on 14 minutes when Ronan Finn broke into the box but shot narrowly wide.
The red-shirted England side settled after this and as the early Irish pressure subsided took a stranglehold on the game with the quick passing and movement style of play, which has become the trademark of Fairclough’s sides, on full display. Indeed, a remarkable 35-pass movement ended with skipper Kyle McFadzean shooting at Darren Quigley in the home goal.
England almost took the lead on 26 minutes when a deep cross from Sean Newton found Andrew Fleming, who planted a strong header onto the underside of the crossbar. The visitors didn’t have to wait long to go in front, however, as O’Donnell lost possession in midfield and Max Porter slotted an inch perfect pass into the path of Fleming who coolly slotted the ball past Quigley. The half ended with England in control having turned in a superb 45 minute display.
The home side began the second half as they did the first as they tried to find the equaliser and came close on 58 minutes when Billy Dennehy pounced on a McFadzean clearance to fire narrowly over from the edge of the box.
Despite this, England still controlled the game and they went further ahead when Tom Cadmore headed on a Fleming corner and Max Porter fired home from an acute angle.
The Irish forced themselves back into the game three minutes later when Paddy Madden ran onto a through ball from McCabe and despite being closed down by three defenders managed to force the ball past Dale Roberts from close range.
The Irish were now exerting pressure on England as they poured forward looking for a second goal but the visitor’s continued willingness to pass the ball at every opportunity held them at bay and Barnes-Homer should have settled matters on 87 minutes as he sprung the offside trap to break clear to round Quigley but was forced wide and his effort was cleared off the line by Mulcahey.
This miss almost proved costly as the ball was moved forward to Padraig Amond who broke clear and as he bore down on goal chose to shoot into the side netting rather than slip the ball inside to the unmarked Madden.
The final whistle sounded to the delight of the England players and the ever loyal band of travelling support. This was another excellent performance from Fairclough’s side who won for the second time in four days against very different opponents.
The East of Scotland side set out from the start to prevent the English from playing, often having 10 men behind the ball, whereas the Irish game was played before a passionate crowd against a strong and determined home side. On both occasions the side came through with flying colours. Indeed the first 45 minutes in Waterford were probably the best the side has played under the leadership of Fairclough, Steve Burr and goalkeeping coach Mick Payne.
Following the game, manager Paul Faiclough could not hide his pleasure at what had gone before.
“This was a remarkable performance. The players only got together on Friday afternoon in Edinburgh and yet judging by the first half performance, you would have thought that they had been playing together all season.
“The passing and movement was superb and belied the level that these lads play at. I am extremely proud of what I have witnessed.
“It was vital that we did not lose here tonight. We now go into our next game against Estonia in October knowing that qualification for the semi-finals is in our hands. We will ensure that we have someone at the Estonia v Ireland game in September. We must leave nothing to chance”
England C: Roberts (Rushden & Diamonds), Densmore (Altrincham), Newton (AFC Telford United), Cadmore (Hayes & Yeading United), Gregory (AFC Wimbledon), McFadzean (Alfreton Town – Capt), Morgan-Smith (Ilkeston Town – Obeng 81 mins), Fleming (Wrexham – Jarvis 74 mins) Barnes-Homer (Luton Town), Deering (Oxford United – Rodman 89 mins), Porter (Rushden & Diamonds – Hall 83 mins)
Substitutes: Hall (Bromley), Rodman (Tamworth), Jarvis (Luton Town), Obeng (Wrexham)
Not Used: Garner (Mansfield Town), Mimms (York City)and Saah (Cambridge United)