VIDEO: Three and easy for Young Lions
Tuesday, 16 November, 2010
Convincing display sees Noel Blake's side beat Poland in Wycombe.
By Nicholas Veevers at Adams Park
Click here to watch the video highlights of the game.
England U18s picked up a convincing win at Adams Park on Tuesday night, to give Head Coach Noel Blake plenty of food for thought ahead of next year’s U19 fixtures.
With the Elite Qualifying Round coming up in the spring, Blake wanted to take a look at his options from this year group and his players responded by comfortably seeing off Poland in Buckinghamshire.
It could all have been so different though, as the game was in doubt just a few hours earlier with fog and mist across Adams Park before clearing just 90 minutes before kick-off.
And Blake will be glad it did, as his team went on to play some good football from the first whistle, keeping possession and moving the ball swiftly and sharply across the pitch to use both flanks.
After a couple of early corners and some slightly unconvincing defending by the Poles, the first real effort on goal came in the seventh minute when Chuks Aneke found some space on the right side of the area and drilled a low shot at goal only to see Michal Szromnik make a good save.
Poland, backed by a noisy bunch of fans behind the goal, worked their way back into the game and were almost gifted a goal after 15 minutes when ‘keeper Jak Alnwick sliced at a ball through the middle, which allowed Jakub Bak a shooting opportunity from 25 yards. He tried to lob the ball home, but put too much weight on the shot and it landed on the roof of the goal.
Another defensive lapse from England almost gifted Poland the lead in the 23rd minute, when Tom Thorpe was caught in possession by Kacper Przybylko, who raced clear on goal. Alnwick was out quickly though and got enough on the shot to turn it around the post.
Luke Garbutt then tried to go his own way, with a marauding run from left-back which took him into the Poland half and past two more players before he was fouled right on the edge of the area for a free-kick. Garbutt himself took the set-piece and looked to catch the Polish defence out with a reverse-pass to Ravel Morrison, but he found himself quickly outnumbered by red shirts in the box and the chance had gone.
England had the lead that they had deserved just before the break and it came from a set-piece. Debutant Jackson Ramm had burst forward from right-back for the umpteenth time and when he was felled by Artur Cebula on the touchline, a free-kick was awarded. Garbutt stepped up and swung over a fantastic cross to the far post where George Taft had lost his man to glance home a header from close range.
That momentum was carried on into the second half too, and just six minutes after the re-start, England had doubled their lead. Reading’s Jordan Obita had been introduced at the break for his England debut and when he played a fine cross from the left, Saido Berahino was well placed to finish from close range.
Poland had a half chance to get themselves back into it in the 57th minute when substitute Kamil Kaminsky squared a pass across the box towards Przybylko. He looked odds on to slot home and bring his side back into the game, but Ramm got across from right-back to make a fine challenge and clear the danger.
As the second half wore on, there were further England debuts for Matt Pearson, Pat Bamford and George Moncur whilst Poland more than utilised their bench with six changes made.
England remained on top though and they secured their victory with just ten minutes remaining, as Bamford won possession and picked out Moncur. He then threaded a pass into the right hand channel for Obita, who shot across the goal and into the far corner.
That proved to be the last of the goals, and aside from two late saves from sub ‘keeper Jordan Pickford to deny Kornel Dus’ low shot, Blake will certainly be left a satisfied man having seen the strength in depth at his disposal.