Wales U16s 0-1 England U16s
Thursday, 01 November, 2012
Dominic Solanke's second-half goal secures Victory Shield win in Port Talbot
by James Marshall in Port Talbot
Dominic Solanke’s close range finish allowed England U16s to beat Wales in a tight Victory Shield encounter.
The Chelsea youngster turned home Denzil Boadu’s pull back in the 54th minute to give Kenny Swain’s young charges their second successive win in this season’s competition, following their 5-0 dismissal of Northern Ireland last month.
Chances were at a premium for both sides, although England stopper Dean Henderson can be pleased with his evening’s work, having been forced into a few decent saves.
England did create their own openings and could have gone into the break 2-1 ahead had Joshua Onomah and Boadu showed a bit more composure inside the box.
But Solanke’s second-half goal won the game and leaves England needing just a point from their final match against Scotland later this month to retain the Shield for the twelfth time in a row.
The hosts created the first chance in the opening moments of the game when Hull City's Daniel James beat England's offside trap and went through on goal, forcing the first good save from Henderson.
With chances few and far between in the opening 20 minutes, England's best effort fell to Onomah who was unlucky not to open the scoring as his shot went just over Luke Pilling's goal.
A torrential hailstorm forced the players off the pitch midway through the half and this disrupted the flow of the game until the break.
Wales again started the better of the two sides, with Daniel Byrnes blazing over the bar from ten yards out.
However, despite Wales’ early pressure, it was England who broke the deadlock on 54 minutes. Good work by Boadu down the left hand side allowed him to tee up Solanke who made no mistake with his strike from just a few yards out.
England U16s’ last outing on Welsh soil two years ago ended in a 4-0 defeat. The result was different this time around but the Young Lions did have their work cut out against a very well organised Wales team.
Swain used all but one of his available outfield substitutes in the second half with most of the players representing their country for the first time.
The occasion and wet conditions did not affect England and they produced a strong, battling, display with captain Ryan Ledson at the heart of everything that was good about them.
They can now look forward to taking on the 'Auld Enemy' at Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium on 29 November.