Daniel Drinkwater was the toast of Gillingham after his sublime goal handed England a comfortable win.
England 2-0 Ghana
U18 International Friendly
Tuesday 20 November 2007
Priestfield Stadium, Gillingham FC
Daniel Drinkwater was the toast of Gillingham after his sublime goal ensured England completed a relatively comfortable win on Tuesday night.
After Daniel Welbeck put England ahead, another United player named Daniel grabbed the headlines with eight minutes remaining.
Receiving the ball from Daniel Gosling, the United midfielder cut inside his man and, ignoring Medy Elito's screams for a pass, sent a shot arrowing into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
On a cold, dank night in Kent, the players were welcomed by some light drizzle as they strode onto the Gillingham turf.
Led by captain Jordan Spence, nine of the starting XI were involved in this summer's U17 World Cup in Korea where England reached the Quarter-Finals.
Tuesday's opponents Ghana went one step further in that competition and it was clear from the opening exchanges that Brian Eastick's side were in for a stern examination.
But England started well with the tenacious Gosling patrolling midfield like a busy security guard scuttling about on his nightshift. But the Plymouth man is more than just a midfield destroyer, as proved with his delightful through ball in the second minute to Welbeck who failed to make the best of the opportunity.
Ghana responded with a chance of their own on seven minutes although they had England full-back Seth Nana Ofori-Twumasi to thank for the opening.
Seemingly in little trouble, the Chelsea right-back let the ball squirm from his control to the dangerous Ransford Osei - one of the stars of the recent World Cup.
He slid the ball through to Isaac Donker who unleashed a powerful shot which Alex Smithies did supremely well to tip over the bar.
Play soon switched to the other end with Gavin Hoyte, James Reid and Daniel Rose linking up with some slick interchanging on the left flank. Rose, who joined Spurs from Leeds in the summer, raced down the flank before slipping the ball inside to Welbeck but Ghana keeper Joseph Addo did enough to thwart the attack.
Middlesbrough winger Jonathan Franks was another who impressed in the Far East and he was typically industrious on the right flank.
He warmed Addo's hands on 14 minutes with a snap-shot from the edge of the box before setting up Boro teammate Nathan Porritt midway through the half.
Spotting Porritt loitering at the far post, Franks picked him out but could only watch as the left-winger sent a cleanly struck volley narrowly wide.
Ghana, perhaps struggling to adapt to the winter weather, began to warm to the task and in a series of incisive moves showed they were here for business.
With Osei leading the line and Abeiku Quansah playing with freedom, England's defence were given a workout but wayward shooting often left Smithies staring into the night sky.
England punished Ghana's failure to capitalise on their pressure by taking the lead on 38 minutes.
The impressive Jay Thomas, all pace and power, stole possession on the edge of the box and homed in on goal. With his finger hovering above the trigger, a desperate lunge from a Ghana defender unintentionally played in Welbeck who lashed home emphatically.
England had a golden chance to double their lead two minutes later from the penalty spot after Mohammed Nortey Tetteh sent Rose sprawling.
Ofori-Twumasi, who was born in Ghana and lived there until he was ten, stepped up but watched in horror as Addo beat away his spot-kick.
Both sides traded chances as the half ticked towards its conclusion.
In the move of the game so far, Prince Attakora Gyimah sent Ghana captain Paul Addo dashing down the left touchline before receiving an inviting return pass. With the goal at his mercy, the Prince turned to a pauper and fired into the temporary stand behind Smithies' goal.
England had an equally gilt-edged chance moments later. Ofori-Twumasi delivered a pinpoint cross to Franks but the winger, perhaps surprised that the ball reached him, failed to bring it under control.
Eastick made three changes at the break, including bringing on goalkeeper Gary Woods, and the United stopper was called into action within minutes of the restart, diving to his right to comfortably save from Gyimah.
Medy Elito, another half-time sub, almost made an immediate impression but he could only fire straight at Addo after some excellent work by Ofori-Twumasi who duped his marker before sending in a cross.
Addo was the busier of the two keepers and he had to be alert on the hour mark as England threatened a second. Gosling sent Rose clear with a beautifully weighted through ball but Addo did just enough to frustrate the young Spurs winger.
England were in the ascendancy but were always vulnerable until they grabbed a second goal. Osei almost made England pay but he just failed to get a touch on a low cross that fizzed across the greasy six yard box.
Tristan Plummer should have put the result beyond doubt with nine minutes remaining when he latched on to a shocking ball across the box but could not find a way past Addo.
Drinkwater, a 67th minute substitute, showed him how to finish a minute later.England:
1 Alex Smithies (13 Gary Woods, 46 mins), 2 Seth Nana Ofori-Twumasi (12 Kieran Tippier, 83 mins), 3 James Reid, 4 Daniel Gosling, 5 Jordan Spence (C), 6 Gavin Hoyte, Jonathan Franks (18 Tristan Plummer, 46 mins), 8 Daniel Rose (16 Steven Clancy, 80 mins), 9 Daniel Welbeck (14 Ashley Chambers, 72 mins), 10 Jay Thomas (15 Daniel Drinkwater, 67 mins), 11 Nathan Porritt (17 Medy Elito, 46 mins).Head Coach:
1 Joseph Addo (16 Robert Dabou, 90 mins), 4 Daniel Opare, 3 Paul Addo (C) (13 Meisure Alhassan, 72 mins), 12 Philip Boampong, 6 Mohammed Nortey Tetteh, 11 Abdul Naza Alhassan, 7 Abeiku Quansah (17 Richard Mpong, 77 mins), 8 Enock Kofi Adu (5 Francis Boadi, 65 mins), 14 Isaac Donker, 10 Ransford Osei, 9 Prince Attakora Gyimah (18 Kelvin Bossman, 60 mins).Subs not used:
16 Baba Sampana, 15 Eric Opoku, 2 Abdulai Seid.Goals:
Welbeck 38, Drinkwater 82Head Coach:
White shirts, blue shorts, white socks.Goalkeeper:
Aubergine shirt, aubergine shorts, white socks.Ghana:
Red shirts, red shorts, black socks.Goalkeeper:
Green shirt, black shorts, black & white socks.Referee:
Ray LeeAssistant Referees:
John Pearce & Gary JerdenFourth Official: