The Young Lions were unlucky to finish on the losing side against Portugal at Nene Park.
England 1-2 Portugal
The FA International U17 Tournament
7pm, Wednesday 27 August 2008
Nene Park, Rushden & Diamonds FC,
Click here for tournament details
England were desperately unlucky to kick start The FA International U17 Tournament with a defeat against Portugal on Wednesday evening, despite enjoying the majority of possession and clearer chances throughout the 80 minutes.
John Peacock’s team could have been a couple of goals ahead after 30 minutes, but they were undone by two quickfire strikes either side of half time by Portugal’s FC Porto forward Filip Barros.
The Young Lions, who were denied by the post on two occasions, often looked fluid and controlled in possession but just couldn’t turn their chances into goals and whilst Barros’ second goal had a touch of class about it, his leveller could only be put down to pure luck.
England started the brighter and came so close to taking an early lead in only the sixth minute when Ryan Tunnicliffe burst forward and latched onto a pass from captain John Bostock in the area. He side-stepped a defender before placing a shot at goal only to see it bounce clear to safety off the post.
Bostock then showed great strength four minutes later to spin Sérgio Oliveira on the half way line and advance forward, before firing a powerful shot at goal which was deflected just wide by a last ditch block.
England’s early superiority was made to count in the 13th minute though when another Tunnicliffe dart from midfield was brought to an abrupt end by Tiago Ribeiro 25 yards from goal. Tunnicliffe picked himself up and struck a low free kick at goal, which found the net via a post with Portugal keeper João Figueiredo having no chance.
Another decent England move after 24 minutes saw Tunnicliffe and Jacob Walcott combine to set up Cameron Park on the left. He cut inside his man and into the box but saw his low shot go just wide of the far post.
At the other end, Ryan Allsop was forced into his first save of the evening in the 28th minute when William Carvalho hit a low shot at goal, which took a slight deflection off Eddie Oshodi, but not enough to trouble the West Bromwich Albion stopper who made a comfortable save low to his right.
Portugal had begun to find their feet and Allsop had to make a fine stop on the half hour mark to keep them at bay when visiting skipper João Amorim executed a pacy shot at goal from the edge of the area. It looked destined for the bottom corner, but a full stretch Allsop got a hand to the ball to turn it around the post.
However just a matter of seconds before half time, Portugal drew level although there was a great deal of fortune about the goal. When Amorim placed a pass to Barros in the right hand channel and he looked to have nowhere to go, so he simply fired a hopeful cross into the area and after a wicked deflection, the ball looped over Allsop and into the goal to send the teams in level at the break.
If Barros’ first goal could have been considered fortunate, there was no doubting the quality of his second less than five minutes after the restart. A ball was played into the box by Roberto Da Silva and from a tight angle, Barros struck an instant shot across goal and beyond Allsop which hit the far post before nestling in the goal.
England rallied though and when Tunnicliffe and Bostock combined well again in midfield, it resulted in the former bursting through again only for a fine tackle from Miguel Serôdio to deny him a shooting chance.
From the resulting corner, Park’s cross was diverted into the path of Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, whose instinctive shot was well saved by Figueiredo.
By now England had refound their rhythm and Portugal were again saved by the woodwork in the 62nd minute, when Bostock’s reverse ball found Walcott in the area. He found a yard of space and looked to have brought the Young Lions level only to see his effort hit the outside of the post and bounce away to safety.
As the game went into the last ten minutes, it was all England with the Portuguese forced into making some hurried clearances and desperate blocks. One Oshodi shot in particular appeared to be handled by a defender but England’s appeals were in vain.
Ahmed Benali then broke through but shot well over from the edge of the area with his left foot.
England did have the ball in the net in the dying minutes, but unfortunately substitute Tom Hitchcock was adjudged to have bundled Figueiredo over the goal-line and a free kick was awarded Portugal's way.
It was certainly hard luck on the Young Lions, but they now have the chance to put things right in 48 hours, when they face Israel at Peterborough United's London Road on Friday evening.England:
Ryan Allsop, Keanu Marsh-Brown, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Edward Oshodi, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, John Bostock (c), Jacob Walcott (Tom Hitchcock, 74) Ezekiel Fryers, Kieran Edwards (Ahmed Benali, 56) Tom Parkes, Cameron Park (Abdulai Baggie, 65) Subs not used:
Jamie Reckord, Sam Mantom, Deale Chamberlain, Carl Jenkinson.Portugal:
João Figueiredo, João Amorim, Tiago Ribeiro, Miguel Serôdio, Rui Coentrão, Sérgio Oliveira, Roberto Da Silva (João Beirão, 63) Filipe Barros, João Amorim (c) (Ruben Pinto, 68) William Carvalho, Sérgio Marques (Luis Gustavo, 41). Subs not used:
Pedro Cavadas, Miguel Lourenço, André Dias, Afonso Taira.Referee:
Gavin WardAssistant Referees:
Nick Hobbis & Chris KnowlesFourth Official: