Two quickfire goals from Rhys Murphy saw the Young Lions seal a deserved victory over the Netherlands.
International U19 Friendly
7.45pm, Tuesday 9 September 2008
The Prostar Stadium, Shrewsbury Town FC
Live on Setanta
England U19s got their season off to a winning start on Tuesday night, with a fluid performance and deserved victory against the Netherlands.
Brian Eastick’s side start their qualifying campaign for the European U19 Championships next month and they had the ideal preparation for it against a competent Dutch side who made them work hard for the win.
Whilst the Young Lions were the better team throughout this game and created the vast majority of the chances, they had to show their character to come back from a goal down, after conceding the opener against the run of play on the stroke of half time.
However, two quickfire goals in the second half from Rhys Murphy, the Arsenal striker who made a big impact last year in the U17 Euros and World Cup, proved enough to earn his team the win.
The Lions went straight at their opponents from the first whistle and could have taken the lead within a minute of the game kicking off, when a corner from skipper Henri Lansbury picked out Jack Rodwell in the area. He powered a header at goal, but defender Ridny Cairo was well placed on the line to clear the danger.
It was then Lansbury’s turn to find his range, as he played a ball into Daniel Welbeck, who was lurking just inside the box. Lansbury continued his run and when Welbeck’s lay off rolled perfectly into his path, he shot narrowly over the bar as England looked to press for an early lead.
At the other end, a dangerous looking cross from Patrick van Aanholt was headed clear as far as Luciano Narsingh but his volley was well wide of the target in the 25th minute.
Nacer Barazite then danced around two challenges on the right before firing a shot at goal which drifted wide of the far post.
After 34 minutes, Victor Moses almost had the crowd on their feet when he collected a pass from Welbeck and skilfully flicked the ball over a Dutch challenge before striking a low volley at goal. Unfortunately, Leonard Nienhuis saw it early and was able to make a good save.
Just a minute later and England had another good chance, when Jonathan Franks' fine cross from the right picked out Welbeck in space but he headed over when well placed just seven yards out.
It was the Netherlands who took the lead in the 41st minute though, when a ball into the box somewhat fortunately ricocheted into the path of Feyenoord’s Georginio Wijnaldum. He took full advantage of the chance though, by smashing a bolt of a left footer into the top corner, giving the previously untroubled Jason Steele no chance whatsoever and the visitors a half time advantage.
The Young Lions were forced into a change at the break, with Rodwell replaced as a precaution by Michael Woods, after taking a knock to the knee in first half stoppage time.
England started the second half the brighter and in the 56th minute, Welbeck had another fine chance when a ball from right-back Kieran Trippier picked him out through the middle. He exchanged passes with Murphy and had the whole of the goal to aim at from just a matter of yards, but at full stretch he could only shoot over the bar.
Substitute Jay Thomas was introduced just after the hour mark and he almost made an instant impact when Lansbury’s cross from the right was just inches too high for him, before Steele was forced into a good save at the other end to keep Genero Zeefuik’s snap shot out.
The equaliser finally arrived after 68 minutes though, when an England breakaway saw Thomas, Woods and Trippier combine before the latter fed a ball through for Murphy. He made no mistake and drilled a low shot past Nienhuis and into the back of the net.
England kept their momentum and within two minutes, they had the lead. The break came down the left flank this time, when Moses was picked out in space. He beat his man before placing a left footed cross to the far post where Murphy connected with a powerful to header to register his second goal of the night.
The last ten minutes saw the visitors try and enforce themselves on the game in the search for what would be an undeserved equaliser, but they found an England back-line in dominant form and aided by the physical presence of Thomas and Matthew Briggs, a leveller never really looked likely.
The nearest they did come was in stoppage time when Soufiane Dadda jinked his way past Briggs, but Steele was equal to his low shot and made another good save.
There was still time for more action at the other end and Murphy was denied a hat-trick by Nienhuis, who made an acrobatic one handed save to turn a shot over the bar following a good break from Welbeck and Lansbury.
With games to come against Northern Ireland, Albania and Serbia in Belfast next month, Head Coach Eastick will no doubt be pleased with his team’s display and hoping that this can be the start of another busy season for them.
England: Jason Steele, Kieran Trippier, Lee Hills (Matthew Briggs, 78) Jack Rodwell (Michael Woods, 46) Krystian Pearce, Gavin Hoyte, Jonathan Franks (Jay Thomas, 60) Henri Lansbury (c), Daniel Welbeck, Rhys Murphy, Victor Moses (Medy Elito, 73).
Subs not used: Ben Amos.
Netherlands: Leonard Nienhuis, Ridny Cairo, Mart Dijkstra (Kaj Ramsteijn, 46) Jeffrey Nuland (Rico Wolven, 46) Partick van Aanholt (Kay Velda, 51) Marco Vejinovic (c), Nacer Barazite, Ben Rienstra (Richard Stolte, 46) Genero Zeefuik (Lars Hutten, 77) Georginio Wijnaldum, Luciano Narsingh (Soufiane Dadda, 72)
Subs not used: Jeroen Zoet.
Referee: Craig Pawson
Assistant Referees: Andy Newbold & Nick Hobbis
Fourth Official: Dean Mohareb