Two goals in the first half proved enough to see the Young Lions pick up a deserved win over Wales.
England 2-0 Wales
England U16s v Wales U16s
Sky Sports Victory Shield
7.45pm, Friday 2 November 2007
New Bucks Head Stadium, AFC Telford United
The Young Lions ran out comfortable winners over Wales on Friday evening as two goals in the first half proved enough to pick up a deserved result in the Victory Shield.
Goals from captain Jonjo Shelvey and José Baxter set Kenny Swain’s team on their way and after a draw in their Shield opener with Northern Ireland last month and then this win, England could retain their title when they travel to Falkirk to play Scotland and conclude the competition later this month.
Whilst the players are still in the early stages of their footballing careers and the purpose of these games is based around their development for the future, the sell out crowd at the New Bucks Head Stadium couldn’t fail to have been impressed with the high tempo performance from England and their obvious team spirit.
England were quickly out of the traps and made a bright start to the game. They could have been ahead in only the third minute, when Ryan Tunnicliffe played a slide-rule pass through for Baxter but his low angled shot flew narrowly wide of the far post.
Baxter then turned provider after breaking into the box and teeing up Shelvey, whose first time shot was saved well by Rhys Wilson in the Wales goal.
It was then Liam Head’s turn to try his luck, when he deftly headed Keanu Marsh Brown’s right wing cross towards goal but it drifted just wide of the target.
England’s electric start continued and in the sixth minute Everton ace Baxter forced another save from Wilson before Wales scrambled clear the danger.
At the other end, Wales’ first effort on goal arrived in the 13th minute when Shane Williams’ dipping volley went just over the bar.
Shelvey tried his luck again in the 19th minute with a vicious 25 yard shot, which Wilson could only parry out as far as the nearest defender in order to fully eradicate the danger.
England were then denied by the woodwork in the 24th minute, when Shelvey lifted a pass over the top for Baxter and when Wilson slipped as he came out to close him down, the Everton striker rolled a shot at goal. It looked to be heading in, but the post came to Wales’ rescue and the chance had gone.
The deadlock was broken after 33 minutes though, when Shelvey struck England ahead with a marvellously taken free kick (left). After Baxter was fouled, the Charlton Athletic starlet stepped up to curl a shot over the wall before it clipped the underside of the crossbar and bounced back up into the roof of the net.
Just five minutes later and England were two goals up, when Tunnicliffe picked out Baxter again and his run into the box was upended by Lee McArdle. Baxter picked the ball up himself and sent Wilson the wrong way to give the Young Lions a deserved advantage at the break.
Wales came out for the second half in a more resolute manner, which made it tough for England to create as many opportunities, but Head was unfortunate to see a powerful shot well saved by Wilson in the 56th minute, after latching onto a pass from Tunnicliffe.
Substitute Jordan Bowen then worked Wilson again with a low shot towards the bottom corner of the goal, after outsmarting Adam Matthews in the box.
England kept up their pursuit of a third goal and ended the game on top, but with Wilson continuing to impress in the Welsh goal, Swain’s side had to settle for just a two goal difference and the thought of a trip north of the border for their next game.
England: 1 Adam Davies (Everton) 2 Keanu Marsh Brown (Fulham) (18 Luke Garbutt (Leeds United), 46) 3 James Hurst (West Bromwich Albion) 4 Jonjo Shelvey (Charlton Athletic) (c) 5 Oliver Nicholas (Arsenal) 6 Eddie Oshodi (Watford) 7 Abdulai Baggie (Reading) (14 Jordan Bowen (Blackburn Rovers), 57) 8 Ryan Tunnicliffe (Manchester United) (12 Emmanuel Frimpong (Arsenal), 66) 9 José Baxter (Everton) 10 Liam Head (Plymouth Argyle) (17 Chuks Aneke (Arsenal), 66) 11 Billy Knott (Chelsea) (15 Lateef Alliyu (West Bromwich Albion), 25)
Subs Not Used: 13 Jak Alnwick (Sunderland) 16 Ibra Sekajja (Crystal Palace)
Goals: Jonjo Shelvey 33, José Baxter 38
Wales: 1 Rhys Wilson (Swansea City) 2 Adam Matthews (Cardiff City) (c) 3 Max Penk (Wrexham) (17 Jack Rea (Chester City), 46) 4 Leon Clowes (Wrexham) 5 Lee McArdle (Everton) 6 Joshua Dawkin (Norwich City) (18 Emyr Huws (Swansea City), 76) 7 Reece Jones (Fulham) 8 Jonathan Meades (Cardiff City) 9 Liam Newman (Burnley) 10) Leigh Smith (Cardiff City) (16 Callum Proctor (Swansea City), 65) 11 Shane Williams (Monmouth Coe) (14 Ben Jones (Preston North End), 57)
Subs Not Used: 12 Billy Bodin (Swindon Town) 15 Lee Lucas (Swansea City) 21 Paul Walker
Referee: Karl Evans