Goals from Chuba Akpom (2) and Dominic Samuel seal win over Denmark in Doncaster
By Nicholas Veevers at the Keepmoat Stadium
England U19s celebrated a winning start to 2013, by defeating Denmark in Doncaster.
A cold evening in South Yorkshire was warmed up by a first-half brace from Chuba Akpom and then a goal for his replacement Dominic Samuel after the break.
For Arsenal striker Akpom, that’s now five goals in four appearances for Noel Blake’s side this season, an enviable record at any level.
And he showed why he is so highly rated at the Emirates Stadium with two clinical finishes.
It wasn’t just the sharpness up front that will please Blake though.
His team played fluently as a unit and looked strong in defence against a Denmark team who certainly contributed to an entertaining game, particularly in the second half.
The first period belonged to England though, with the Young Lions pinning the visitors back right from the first kick.
And they were rewarded for their bright start in the 18th minute. Denmark tried to overplay in their own area and goalkeeper Oliver Korch’s sloppy pass was cut out by Nathan Redmond. He moved it quickly on to Akpom, who made no mistake by striking low past the stranded Korch.
Akpom had his second of the game less than ten minutes later, as England launched a stunning counter-attack on the Danes.
Again it was Redmond at the heart of the move, slipping a fine pass into the area for Akpom, who beat Korch to the ball and rolled home in the 27th minute.
Denmark started the second half like a team who had just received some stern words from coach Thomas Frank and they responded in the best way – with a goal.
A deep cross from sub Mads Aaquist was caught at first by Jordan Pickford, but the England ‘keeper lost it as he landed and the ball dropped to Danny Amankwaa who converted from close range.
Pickford more than made up for that just after the hour mark, as he turned sub Christian Norgaard’s low shot onto the post after Amankwaa’s cross from the right. It was a fine save from the Sunderland stopper and was to prove crucial.
Blake quickly responded with some changes of his own and it had the desired effect.
Josh Murphy picked the ball up in space on the left and after beating Aaquist, his low cross into the centre was met by fellow sub Samuel who smashed the ball home from inside the six-yard box.
And twin brother Jacob Murphy almost got his name on the scoresheet in the later stages, when his low left-footer from inside the box was brilliantly saved by sub ‘keeper Casper Radza.
With the Euro Elite qualifiers looming in May, it was just the sort of performance and progress that Blake has been looking for and with another match against Turkey to come next month, his preparations will continue.