Four more for England
Thursday, 27 October, 2011
Young Lions find their Victory Shield shooting boots in Cheltenham.
By James Marshall in Cheltenham
England U16s made it two wins from two in this season's Victory Shield on Thursday night, as they hit four goals without reply against Wales in Cheltenham.
Two goals in each half proved enough to secure the three points for Kenny Swain's side, who now travel to Scotland in November where they will look to finish the Shield with three wins out of three.
After a 3-1 win against Northern Ireland in their opener earlier this month, the Young Lions started the game at a blistering pace again and captain Ruben Loftus-Cheek led by example to put his side one up after only three minutes of play.
Jerome Sinclair cut the ball back into the box from the right wing, picking out Loftus-Cheek who produced a comfortable finish past goalkeeper Gareth Owen from close range.
However, despite their early lead, England had to be alert soon after as Wales were unlucky not to equalise when Alex Palmer produced a fine save from point blank range to keep out Kyle Copp’s headed after eight minutes. The ball fell back out to Peter Smith, who smashed the rebound well over the bar and it was a let-off for the Lions.
However, this didn’t dent England's confidence as six minutes later Sinclair got himself on the score-sheet. A cross from Oluwaseyi Ojo on the left caused problems for Owen, who could only palm the ball out as far as Alex Kiwomya and when his shot was blocked, Liverpool's Sinclair was on hand to scramble the ball home from a yard out.
Head Coach Swain must have been delighted with his side’s first-half performance and it could have got even better on the stroke of half-time. Ojo produced some trickery inside the area and was brought down, but Max Clarke’s penalty was well saved by Owen.
England started the second-half as they did the first and it was Ojo again who produced another fine run to create another opportunity. Twisting and turning with the ball, he caused the Welsh defence problems and when they brought him down on the edge of the box, Loftus-Cheek was unlucky to hit the bar with the ensuing free kick.
The Chelsea midfielder put in a real captain’s performance and caused Wales all sorts of problems with his set pieces delivery all night. In fact, England’s third goal came from another one of Loftus-Cheek’s swinging balls into the box, with Owen failing to hold a free-kick on a wet service, allowing the lively Kiwomya a tap in from close range.
England replicated the score they were beaten by Wales in the competition last season when they made it 4-0 on 77 minutes. Substitute Reise Alassani, who was another to look lively in midfield, took a short corner before receiving the ball back and the firing an unstoppable looping shot over Owen and into the top corner to make it a memorable night for the Young Lions.