Fairclough's food for thought
Wednesday, 15 September, 2010
Paul Fairclough's England C team draw 2-2 against Wales Under-23.
The England C team were pegged back to 2-2 by a resolute Wales Under-23 side in Newtown on Tuesday.
The game started brightly for the English who stormed into the lead after just two minutes with a goal from team captain Kyle McFadzean, when he powered home a shot from the edge of the box after the Welsh defence only half cleared the first corner of the game.
England dominated the early stages of the game with their trademark slick passing movements causing problems for the Welsh. They almost doubled their lead on 25 minutes when Matthew Barnes Homer was sent clear into the box after a move involving around 30 passes. Barnes-Homer lost his marker but his shot was well saved by Stephen Cann in the Wales goal.
The England striker only survived a further seven minutes when a strain forced him off, being replaced by Michael Gash. English pressure finally paid off when Tamworth’s Alex Rodman found the net, firing home from the edge of the box and the side went into the interval with a comfortable 2-0 lead.
Fairclough made four changes at the interval with Danny Rose replacing Steven Gregory, Brian Saah replacing Aden Flint, Ben Wright replacing Alex Rodman and Seb Brown replacing Dale Roberts in goal. The changes seemed to unsettle the formation and it was the Welsh that began the brighter of the two sides and almost pulled a goal back on 53 minutes when Scott Barrow tried a long range effort that was well saved by Brown.
England should have wrapped the game up seven minutes later when Michael Gash shot well over when well placed. The visitors appeared to be re gaining control of the game and were again on top after their unsettled start to the half.
The second half was certainly more open with Wales still looking dangerous when in possession and they almost scored on 65 minutes when Marc Williams shot narrowly wide from a poorly executed punch from Brown in the England goal.
Wales appeared to sense that they were still in the game as England’s passing became a little sloppy especially when maybe playing too much football from defence. From such a slip by Danny Rose, Williams almost scored when well placed and it was only a strong tackle from Saah that saved his colleague’s blushes.
The breakthrough that we feared, arrived on 78 minutes when Craig Moses fired home from eight yards after the ball was pushed into his path by Brown following a save from Barrow. The goal could again be traced back to sloppy passing in the mid field.
Wales were now in the ascendency and poured forward in search of an equaliser and this arrived four minutes later when the visitors defence failed to deal with a corner and Chris Jones forced the ball home from ten yards.
England had to steady themselves in the last few minutes and this they did as they regained control and themselves pushed forward looking for a winner. And they almost pulled it off in the first minute of stoppage time when Sam Hatton found Gash who fired wide from eight yards when he maybe should have found the net.
Over 90 minutes a draw was probably a fair outcome but England would regret not taking full advantage of their vast superiority in the opening half. After the game Paul Fairclough was relaxed about the result, praising the side for their efforts, especially in the first half . The game had proved a worthwhile exercise ahead of the International Challenge Trophy Group B decider with Estonia in Tallinn next month.
Dale Roberts (Ben Brown 46 mins) Sam Hatton, Greg Taylor, Aden Flint (Brian Saah 46 mins), Steven Gregory (Danny Rose46 mins), Kyle McFadzean, Charlie Henry, Max Porter, Matthew Barnes-Homer (Michael Gash 32 mins), Jake Howells, Alex Rodman (Ben Wright 46 mins)