VIDEO: Stirring comeback from Young Lions
Wednesday, 25 August, 2010
Hallam Hope and Matty Regan score as England draw 2-2 with Turkey.
Glenn Lavery at Sincil Bank
Click here to watch video highlights of the game.
England fought back from two-down to draw 2-2 with Turkey in their opening match of The FA International U17 Tournament.
The visitors took the lead in the 17th minute through Ibrahim Yilmaz as the forward tucked home Hakan Calhanoglu’s square ball across the six-yard box.
Yilmaz deservedly doubled both his own tally and Turkey’s lead on 34 minutes, calmly passing the ball into the back of the net after Beykan Simsek’s pull back.
England went in at half-time 2-0 behind but they looked a completely different side after the break. Hallam Hope won, and converted, a 45th-minute penalty and just three minutes later Matty Regan bundled home Raheem Sterling’s cross at the back post.
It was the quintessential game of two halves and in the end a draw was probably the fairest of results.
Turkey began the match in confident fashion with Recep Niyaz dictating proceedings from the centre of the park. The visitors were comfortable playing the ball along the ground and might have taken an early lead had Jordan Pickford not been so alert in the England goal.
Calhanoglu intercepted a Robbie Cotton pass in the middle and fed Niyaz in an advanced position. The ball was worked out towards the left where Calhanoglu had continued his run and he forced Jordan Pickford to save well at his near post.
If England had not heeded this warning, Kadir Ari then tried his luck from distance to indicate the Turks ambition to win this match, just as their predecessors did last season, and just seven minutes later Abdullah Ercan’s side had taken a deserved lead.
Orchestrator-in-Chief Niyaz slipped a delightful through ball to Calhanoglu on the right side of the England box and instead of lashing a shot across goal, as many a player his age might have done, he coolly played the ball across goal for Yilmaz to score, though Ellis Plummer did get a touch on the ball which completely deceived Pickford.
The opening goal had been coming as the visitors had looked increasingly confident in possession but, although they were behind, England refused to abandon their attempts to get the ball down and play and on the half-hour mark their efforts were almost rewarded.
Crewe youngster Max Clayton found himself free inside the Turkey box and his shot into the far corner was saved by the feet of Turkish ‘keeper Sercan Sen. It looked as if Hope would convert the rebound from close range but Alparslan Emre Capar produced a marvellous sliding block to send the ball out for a corner. Less than five minutes later, Turkey had doubled their lead and it had much to do with the energy of right-winger Simsek.
He galloped down his flank at pace and as he got to the by-line he pulled the ball back for Yilmaz who calmly stroked home his second of the night.
As he sought a route back into the match, John Peacock made two changes at the break with Matthias Fanimo and Luke Hendrie replacing Henshall and Cotton respectively. Turkey also made a half-time substitution with Sen making way for Yusuf Mersin between the sticks.
With Peacock’s half-time words no doubt still ringing in their ears, the Young Lions looked a completely different side at the start of the second half and had levelled the game inside just eight minutes.
On 45 minutes Hope was tripped inside the box by Simsek and referee Geoff Eltringham had no choice but to point to the spot. The Everton forward dusted himself down to take the spot-kick and slotted the ball to Mersin’s left, sending the ‘keeper the wrong way in the process.
This goal appeared to galvanise the hosts and there was a lot more pace and purpose about each and every subsequent attack, with Fanimo looking particularly sharp, out on the left, after his introduction. Turkey could not cope with England’s new-found fluency and had soon conceded the equaliser.
Some neat build-up play between Sterling and Hendrie on the right earned England a corner. Sterling’s centre was inadvertently sliced to the far post by Ari and Matty Regan climbed highest to nod the ball into the back of the net amid a host of bodies.
Turkey were stunned and could not get their first-half passing game going at all. It was left to Niyaz to try and get his side back into the game with a shot from distance. The ball went out for a corner which Yilmaz headed just over the angle of bar and post.
Not to be out-done, England went straight down the other end with an attack of their own, though Nick Powell’s effort was too high to trouble Mersin.
Their emphasis on possession had allowed Turkey to take a two-goal lead into the break but set pieces proved to be their main source of threat in the second half. Taha Can Velioglu should perhaps have done better when Calhanoglu’s corner fell to him at the back post, but the defender hit his shot into the ground and over the bar.
Both sides then had chances to win the game late on. First, England substitute Adam Morgan, who scored three goals in the Nordic Tournament, dragged his six-yard shot wide after Fanimo’s low pull back. Then Calhanoglu forced Pickford into another excellent near-post save with just minutes remaining. Hendrie tried an audacious chip from in excess of 30 yards and Seckin Dogan saw his effort sail high and wide.
That was to be the last action of an absoring game at Sincil Bank and both sides will go away happy with a point, going into Friday’s second round of fixtures.