Parrett strike sees off Irish
Wednesday, 26 May, 2010
A fine free-kick from Dean Parrett gets England off to a winning start.
UEFA European U19 Championship
Elite Qualifying Round
26-31 May 2010
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England U19s made a winning start to their Elite Qualifying Round group on Wednesday, when a first half free-kick from Dean Parrett proved enough to see off a determined Republic Of Ireland team in Kiev.
Head Coach Noel Blake had warned before the game that the Young Lions would face three tough encounters in their group, with Ireland likely to provide resilient opposition in the opener.
That was exactly as it turned out too, with the game proving to be something of a battle for supremacy throughout and it always looked likely to be won by a set-piece.
So when defender Phil Jones was fouled in an advanced position following a run forward, Spurs starlet Parrett took the opportunity to place a superb free-kick beyond Eire goalkeeper Gerrard Hanley and into the goal for what proved to be the winner.
Ireland came out strongly for the second half and put some pressure on Blake's team in their search for an equaliser, including Conor Hourihane crashing a shot against the bar, but England did more than enough to hold out and keep a valuable clean sheet. It could even have been 2-0, but substitute Andros Townsend saw a late shot hit the post and rebound to safety.
Blake also took the chance to hand an England debut to Wycombe Wanderers winger Matt Phillips, who was brought on in the second half along with Spurs duo John Bostock and Townsend.
With only the top team from the group progressing to the European Championship Finals in France this summer, an opening game victory is always important and Blake and his squad will now be focusing on Friday's game with Bosnia-Herzegovina.