England secured a draw in their opening match of the Arafura Games.
Arafura Games 2009
Cerebral Palsy seven-a-side tournament
Tuesday 12 May 2009
Hockey Centre Field 2, Marrara Stadium
England secured a draw in their opening match of the Arafura Games in the Marrara Stadium, Darwin Australia.
Lyndon Lynch gave four players their first cap in a game The Three Lions dominated for long periods. They were also unfortunate not to take the lead in the second half after the ball was adjudged to not have crossed the line.
As early as the fourth minute, debutant Sam Whatley, fired over the bar after good exchange of passes between Michael Wilson and Michael Barker. The pressure continued and Graham Le Clerc successfully pressurized the Australia defence only to shoot wide as he raced clear of the defence.
In the second half England started with purpose and had three good scoring opportunities, with Michael Wilson hitting the bar from 25 yards and Le Clerc just failing to hit the target from the rebound.
It was in the 45th minute, folowing a swift counter-attack and save by the Australia goalkeeper, that Michael Barker bundled the ball over the line. With the England players celebrating the assistant referee did not confirm the goal and the home team were able to clear the danger.
With five minutes to go Australia created their best opportunity when David Barber hit the bar from 20 yards direct form a free kick.
England continued to press for the winner and with virtually the last kick of the game, Michael Barker hit the bar after a delicate chip.
Karl Townshend produced an outstanding defensive performance as one of Lyndon Lynch’s new caps and Matt Ellis was tireless in the heart of the England midfield. Jordan Raynes, 18, became the youngest England Cerebral Palsy captain and had little to do in the England goal.
Team Manager Lynch commented: “I am very pleased with the team effort and particularly the positive contribution made by the debutants.
"Due to the competition schedule acclimatisation and preparation time has been affected however the players have responded magnificently and produced a good foundation for the remainder of the tournament”
England play current group leaders, Japan, tomorrow evening after they beat Korea 2-1 in the other game.
England were invited to attend the games by CP ISRA who is the international organisation for CP sport.England Team
1 Jordan Raynes, 2 Karl Townshend, 3 Michael Wilson, 4 Sam Whatley, 5 Michael Barker, 6 Matt Ellis, 7 Graham Le Clerc (Dean Cartwright, 50) For full details and fixtures at the Arafura Games, click here