VIDEO: Cole's goal seals win for England
Wednesday, 24 August, 2011
Young Lions beat Italy thanks to Devante Cole's late strike.
By James Marshall at the Abbey Stadium
Click here to watch video highlights of the game.
After a successful U17s World Cup in Mexico where John Peacock’s side reached the Quarter Finals and narrowly lost out to Germany, it was the turn of a new generation of talent in Cambridge.
This squad helped England to win the Victory Shield last season and they started confidently against their Italian counterparts in the first game of the annual FA International Tournament.
Luke Shaw, Jordan Graham and Jack Jebb saw a lot of play down England’s left side for much of the first-half, which nearly cultivated in a breakthrough after 25 minutes. Graham linked up with Jebb, who then slipped Devante Cole through on goal. Expertly turning the defender, Cole, son of former England international Andrew Cole, forced a good save from the Italian goalkeeper Luca Lezzerini.
Three minutes later, captain Leo Chambers was unlucky not to break the deadlock, after beating two men and hitting an audacious shot just wide.
However, for much of England's dominance in possession, it was Italy who had the best chance in the first 40 minutes as Emanuele Rovini broke away on the counter attack and struck a low shot which bounced off George Willis’s right hand post as the first-half drawn to a close.
England started the second-half the brighter of the two sides, with Cole coming close twice in the opening couple of minutes by initially forcing a good save from Lezzerini and then curling a shot just wide after some excellent trickery by lively Aston Villa winger Jordan Graham.
Peacock rang the changes midway through the second half with Kieran Wallace, John Swift and Callum Robinson all getting a taste of the action.
England defended well too, putting robust challenges in when needed whilst continuing to try and break down a well organised Italian side. It was a great learning curve for Peacock’s youngsters as they had to keep their concentration throughout and were rewarded for this with just two minutes to go when they found a deserved winner.
The Young Lions retained possession excellently through Chelsea’s Swift, linking up with Kieran Wallace who then put Cole through on goal. The young Manchester City forward kept his cool, to clip the ball over the onrushing Lezzerini and into the far corner.
It was a well-taken goal which his father would have been proud of and it give England three points in their opening game of the tournament.