Five-star Shield start
Thursday, 27 September, 2012
England U16s start Victory Shield campaign with 5-0 win in Northern Ireland.
By Nicholas Veevers
It was a perfect start to the 2012 Victory Shield for England U16s on Thursday evening, as the Young Lions made no mistake in dispatching of Northern Ireland in a dominant performance in Dungannon.
Goals from Liverpool duo Tom Brewitt and Jordan Rossiter, Manchester United’s Demetre Mitchell and a double from Middlesbrough’s Callum Cooke proved more than enough on the night to give Kenny Swain’s squad an impressive start to this season’s Shield.
England are looking to seal a twelfth successive Shield title this year and the confidence and composure shown throughout the 80 minutes at Stangmore Park will give Swain and his staff plenty of confidence for the remaining two matches against Wales and Scotland.
It did take Swain's side a little time to settle into the game though, during a hectic and pacy first 15 minutes with both teams looking to make an early impression but England soon began to pose more of a threat and quickly took control of possession.
The first goal came shortly after the 20 minute mark, when Mitchell’s corner from the left was flicked on by WBA midfielder Isiah Brown for Brewitt and the centre-half made no mistake by firing a volley past ‘keeper Brett Long.
That goal was bettered less than ten minutes later, when Mitchell collected the ball just inside the Irish half before driving straight at the heart of the hosts’ defence. He drifted inside from the right channel and skipped past two players, before firing a shot with the outside of his left-foot from just outside the box, giving Long no chance as it swerved underneath the bar and into the roof of the net.
Northern Ireland rallied after that double blow, as Spurs defender Christian Maghoma had to scramble clear a Jordan Thompson cross from close range before ‘keeper Freddie Woodman handled Jonathan Smith’s shot with aplomb, but the Young Lions soon found their rhythm again and added a third goal on the stroke of half time.
Arsenal right-back Tafari Moore played a sweeping pass forward to pick out Adam Armstrong and when he slipped a pass to his left, captain Rossiter was in support to cut inside and fire an unstoppable shot into the top corner.
It only took seven minutes of the second half before England added a fourth goal and it was another impressive strike involving two of Swain’s half-time substitutes. Manchester United left-back Cameron Borthwick-Jackson chipped a pass towards the area, where Armstrong flicked the ball nicely into the path of Cooke, who calmly controlled before side-footing past Long and into the bottom corner.
Cooke grabbed his brace ten minutes later, as an incisive move in the final third ended with Long scrambling to save from Armstrong at his near post but when the ball rebounded to the midfielder, he made no mistake from eight yards to smash home England’s fifth and final goal of the night.
England went on to control the game from there, keeping the ball under their control whilst still probing for further goals and Fulham’s Patrick Roberts could consider himself unfortunate not to have got his name on the scoresheet with Long denying him twice and also seeing a shot fly narrowly wide of the post after his introduction as a second-half substitute.
A deserved goal also alluded the tireless Armstrong, as another left-footer from distance was collected by Long to deny the Newcastle United striker after a number of earlier attempts.
It was a successful night for Swain though, who will now be plotting his side’s next game against Wales in Port Talbot in early November.