The Men's team suffered a surprising 3-0 defeat against Germany in their opening game.
Germany 3 – 0 England
World Deaf Championship, Men's Competition
2-12 July, 2008
Click here for fixture details
England Deaf men found themselves suffering a shock defeat at the hands of Germany, with England failing to secure their first points in the opening game of the World Deaf Championship in Patras, Greece.
Despite enjoying a lot of possession during the game, the Three Lions could not break through the German’s strong backline. Germany then capitalised on bad mistakes from England and finished their chances well to take a three goal lead and mark their stamp as the group leader.
Peter Wood, playing his first game as captain for the Three Lions, was dominant in the centre of the pitch, creating opportunities for Daniel Ailey and Oliver Wilcox with swift balls into the German’s defensive area. England started off as the brighter side, and it wasn’t long before Wood fired in a shot on target, which was well-saved by the Germany goalkeeper.
Everton Deaf FC Goalkeeper Gary Spotswood had to be at full alert for a dangerous long-range shot in from German’s No. 7, tipping the effort over the crossbar. Spotswood was then at full stretch to prevent Germany getting the goal lead over England and the re-bound could only hit the upper side of the crossbar.
His Everton team-mate Liam Coventry, playing in the centre of midfield, could only watch as his effort flew over the Germans crossbar whilst Damien Wood, making his full international debut, featured in a period of skilful possession which saw his ball feed Dalziel for a shot on goal, only to see it blocked yet again.
A dangerous ball into the penalty area by Dalziel created an opportunity for Daniel Ailey, racing into the area to meet the cross, but Ailey narrowly missed the target at full stretch.
England then found themselves a goal down, when despite Spotswood’s finger-tip save from the outstanding German number seven, the ball fell to the unmarked German number five to slot the ball in the back of England’s net.
England showed the right character and response by almost equalising minutes after the re-start. Ailey raced away to meet a long ball and beat the defence and goalkeeper to the ball, but his attempted loop-header was just saved by the German keeper, jumping at his full stretch.
England were starting to dominate possession and a series of free-kicks failed to open up any clear opportunities as the Three Lions found themselves foiled at every attempt with the German defence looking very resolute. The possession did provide Ailey with an equalising opportunity, but he saw his powerful shot from a clever play hit the side-netting.
England coach Richard Horner made changes to the formation in an attempt to put more pressure on the German defence and brought on Benjamin Lampert for Damien Wood and reverting to a five man midfield. However, before the changes could take effect Germany extended their lead when England lost possession at the back, and some quick passes from Germany enabled their winger to cross and the forward to blast a shot into the net from close range, leaving Spotswood with no chance.
Horner made further changes and added fresh legs up front with Rowan Dixon replacing Oliver Wilcox. This change soon saw Dixon in the action and Taljinder Singh’s long throw was met by the head of Ailey, who narrowly missed the target from a difficult position. Skilful work from Daniel Hogan on the left hand side saw his low cross fly in front of the face of goal, narrowly missing the feet of attacking England teammates.
England braved on further in their bid to reduce the deficit and applied more pressure on the Germans by throwing men forward, but the Germans scored their third goal with moments left to play. The England defence was left exposed and Germany’s number nine was left with too much time and a deflected shot looped over Spotswood and into the net..
Despite the defeat, team manger Mark Pover was upbeat about his team’s performance.
“England were unfortunate to play their first game against a strong side who clearly benefitted from having played two days earlier,” he told TheFA.com.
“We know we can play better and we will but it sets things up nicely for the next game.”
The result leaves the Three Lions now needing a win against the hosts Greece to secure their passage to the quarter final stages of the Championship.
England: Gary Spotswood (GK), Chris Naylor, Jason Corbett, Taljinder Singh, Daniel Hogan, Damien Wood (Benjamin Lampert, 55) Peter Wood, Liam Coventry (Oliver Monksfield, 35), Daniel Ailey, Oliver Wilcox (Rowan Dixon, 75) Alistair Dalziel.
Subs not used: Jon Atkinson (GK), Jamie Clarke, Joseph Neale, Stuart Bones.