England 5-3 Macedonia
World Deaf Futsal Championship
Friday 16 November 2007
Less than 20 hours after celebrating their victory over Turkey, England were back in the Histro Bistrov arena to continue their battle for ninth place in a match which saw a convincing display from Three Lions.
An early double from captain John Atkinson put England in the driving seat, but Peter Sturgess’ team saw their two goal lead dashed by Macedonia’s three penalties before strikes from Daniel Hogan (2) and Ben Lampert secured the win and a place in the ninth/tenth play-off on Saturday.
With England’s Liam Coventry and Rowan Dixon sitting out the match due to suspension, goalkeeper Steven Wynne was handed his first start for Three Lions.
England started brightly and were two goals ahead after five minutes, thanks to Atkinson’s brace. Along with their skipper, Hogan and Lampert both looked threatening against the Macedonians and Lampert was unlucky not to fire England further ahead when he saw his re-bound shot saved again after the original effort was blocked away by Hogan.
However, the Three Lions were left frustrated by a series of refereeing decisions which went against them and Macedonia pulled a goal back from the penalty spot, after a handball inside the area.
With decisions continuing to go against England, Wynne was called into action with a quick block to detain Macedonia a further goals, but was unable to prevent the opponents taking a 3-2 lead when Macedonia scored two out of their three penalties after successive fouls from England in the first period.
Birthday boy Alistair Dalziel was foiled a goal when some superb skill saw him break into the penalty area and with just the keeper to beat, he narrowly missed the target. Moments later, his shot was blocked by the goalkeeper’s legs.
England eventually grabbed the equaliser though, when Hogan’s low ball in from a tight angle was met by Lampert to give the Three Lions real hope of securing victory.
Brian Green was just too short to meet an excellent ball in from Lampert, as England pressed on in search of a winning goal but Hogan looked to have secured the Three Lions’ fourth goal when he was awarded a penalty after Macedonia’s sixth foul. Unfortunately though, his spot kick was saved by the keeper’s legs.
Atkinson then saw a shot of his hit the post, whilst under pressure from the keeper before Hogan grabbed a deserved fourth goal to put England back in the lead once again when a nicely timed ball from Singh was straight into Hogan’s path and it was met with a fiery shot to beat the keeper.
Hogan then added England’s fifth goal moments later, which involved classic play from Atkinson, who unleashed a smooth pass for Hogan, only for it to be intercepted and knocked back into his path by Macedonia’s No.4 to secure England’s victory.
The result sees England face another Balkans country, Serbia, in the battle to reach ninth place in the World Championship, after previously finishing ninth in last year’s European Championship.
However, England will have to do without both Hogan and Oliver Monksfield, who are suspended for the final match, having collected their second bookings of the tournament.
Team Liaison Officer, Oliver Eadsforth, was pleased with the team and said: “They have certainly lifted the spirit in the England camp since our defeat against Slovakia and the Netherlands.
“Sadly we have to cross the same path as we did in the European Championships last year, but I can see the gap getting closer.
“We have certainly improved our level together as team, and with this being our first World Championship, it has certainly been an experience for the players and the staff themselves.”
England: Steven Wynne (GK), Daniel Holdsworth, Oliver Monksfield, Ben Lampert, Taljinder Singh, Daniel Hogan, Brian Green, Alistair Dalziel, John Atkinson
Not used: Sam Kitchin (GK)
Suspended: Rowan Dixon, Liam Coventry