The U16s' demonstration of talent pleases Head Coach, Kenny Swain
Turgott 50, Fanimo 80+2
England U16 v Northern Ireland
Sky Sports Victory Shield
7.40pm, Thursday 5 November 2009
Deva Stadium, Chester City FC
Click here to buy a match programme (£2) online
Click here for the full Victory Shield schedule
After supervising his side’s collection of another three Victory Shield points, England U16 Head Coach, Kenny Swain, saluted the moments of brilliance which helped conquer a physical Northern Ireland outfit.
The visitors shaded proceedings in the opening 40 minutes, particularly from set pieces, and they were keen to test England goalkeeper, George Willis, on his international debut. But the young stopper refused to be beaten which allowed England to build momentum in the second half, with the half-time introduction of Raheem Sterling and Jack Barmby proving particularly pivotal.
After almost breaking the deadlock himself, minutes later Sterling had a hand in the opening goal. He jinked his way into space before laying the ball to Matthias Fanimo, who in turn set up Blair Turgott to finish. This goal deflated Northern Ireland and England went on to enjoy the better of the second period. A counter-attack in added time saw Swain’s side confirm the win as Sterling and Fanimo again combined. The substitute played Fanimo in and the West Ham man slotted the ball into the far corner leaving England with six points from two Victory Shield matches, after their 1-0 defeat of Wales last month.
“The scoreline was a bit flattering, but I think we deserved to win the game,” Swain said in summary.
“Northern Ireland made it very difficult but the bits of quality on show came from us and in the end I think we looked the team most likely to win the game. Both goals were well worked and both were the product of some incisive passing, which was pleasing.”
This match was almost a carbon copy of the Wales encounter as England failed to start both games with any real purpose, but Swain is unperturbed and believes his side will have improved when they take on Scotland in the final Victory Shield fixture on 26 November.
“We’ve started slowly in the two Victory Shield games we’ve had so far and that’s something we’ll need to work on,” he admitted. “But we’ve got to remember that this is all new to them and I’m confident that the players will have settled down by the time we play Scotland and we should see a more fluid performance from us.”
The match against Scotland, which is being staged at Tynecastle, home to Heart of Midlothian, will determine the destination of the Victory Shield, as both nations are locked on six points. A draw would see England retain the title for the ninth successive season, but a win for Scotland would see the Shield travel north of the border.
“It seems to be the usual story,” Swain said of the winner-takes-all scenario. “No doubt Scotland will be looking forward to facing us, as we are looking forward to facing them. It should be a great game.”
1 George Willis, 2 Shay Facey (16 Stephen Arthurworrey 67), 3 Callum McFadzean, 4 Elikem Amenku (14 Jack Barmby, 41), 5 Sam Magri (C), 6 Adam Jackson, 7 Nathan Redmond (18 Raheem Sterling, 41), 8 Nick Powell, 9 Zak Ansah (15 Adil Nabi, 71), 10 Matthias Fanimo, 11 Blair Turgott (17 Bradley Jordan, 62)
Substitutes not used 12 Robbie Cotton, 13 Jordan Pickford
Head Coach Kenny Swain
1 Conor Brennan, 2 Ryan McLaughlin, 3 Matthew Clarke, 4 Luke McCullough (C), 5 Joseph Jones, 6 Douglas Wilson (17 Aaron Rogan, 76), 7 Paul George, 8 David Morgan, 9 Shay McCartan, 10 Noel Lawless (16 Joshua Barton, 64), 11 Luke Conlan (15 Paul McElroy, 70)
Substitutes not used 12 Gareth Deane, 13 Shane McKinney, 14 Matthew Deighan, 18 Dominic Ball, 19 Conall McGrandles, 20 Thomas Healey
Manager Dessie Currie
Referee Paul Tierney
Assistant Referees Lee Metcalfe & Paul Marsden
Fourth Official Robert Madley