Learning Disability U18s open Home Nations Tournament emphatically.
England Learning Disability U18s 5-1 Republic of Ireland
Home Nations Tournament
Monday 5 April 2010
Billy Neil Centre, Belfast
The England Learning Disability U18 squad opened up the Home Nations Tournament with a convincing 5-1 victory over Republic of Ireland to give new Head Coach Dennis Mortimer a welcomed birthday present.
On a very windy day at the Billy Neil Centre in Belfast, England played positive football which was impressive as they have only had two days to get together. Mortimer and his assistant Chris Dowhan have shaped a free passing team that have started the tournament with determination and a hunger to succeed.
England’s flying start began in the seventh minute when Leronne Plummer sprinted past the defence to finish well after a through ball from Mitchell Williams. This lead should have been doubled but Plummer headed wide after a pin-point cross from Royce Greenidge.
Against the run of play Ireland scored after England failed to clear their lines. Lawrence curled a right-footed shot into the top corner to level the game in 17th minute.
England’s response was immediate; Connor Bibbey played a long ball through to George Simmons who finished smartly on the half volley from the edge of the box. At half time England were 2-1 in front and had played the first half exclusively with a gale force wind in their faces.
The second half started with the Three Lions playing bright and imaginative football. Captain Chris McGinty was pivotal in all of England's work, ably supported by Tom Figg and Matty Bryans. They provided the strength in midfield that set the platform for England to surge ahead.
Six minutes after the restart McGinty received the ball in the box and hit a shot across the goalkeeper who deflected the ball onto the post only for McGinty to finish from close range. That led to a goal rush; three minutes later Bibbey delivered a great cross only for the Irish goalkeeper to fumble the ball allowing Plummer to complete his brace by walking the ball into an empty net.
Unfortunately the wind got stronger and any flow to the game became disrupted and play became scrappy. England finished on a high note in the 88th minute when, after being awarded a free-kick, McGinty smashed the ball into the top left-hand corner topping off a Man of the Match performance.
“I am very pleased with the result," said Mortimer after the game. "Even though the conditions were tricky we continually tried to get the ball on the ground and pass. The boys have made a good start but we still have two more games and face Scotland tomorrow and hope for the same performance as today."England
Gaskin, Bibbey, Allen, Williams, Wright, McGinty, Figg, Greenidge (Carpenter, 75), Simmons (Horn, 61), Plummer (McEnery, 56), Bryans