Narrow defeat against the Dutch for Learning Disability team
Netherlands 3-2 England
Friday 15 June 2012
2012 INAS European Championship
The England Learning Disability team recovered from a two-goal deficit at half-time to force extra-time but were beaten at the death by Holland in a thrilling semi-final tie.
England started the game against the current champions strongly and dominated play from the start. Both Lerone Plummer and Sleiman Mbarouk had early chances to put England ahead but both pulled their shots wide of the target. Holland found it difficult to play with their usual rhythm, although still looked occasionally dangerous on the break.
It was Holland who took the lead however, after England failed to deal properly with a ball played into midfield and their winger sped in to fire past Kevin Ginever on the half-hour mark. Events then got worse for England as Holland were harshly awarded a penalty after the ball inadvertently hit the hand of a defender and the Dutch rammed home the penalty for a two goal led that was undeserved on the balance of play.
At the start of the second half, England managed to make the breakthrough and edge their way back into the game as Matt Edwards headed home from a corner in the first couple of minutes to reduce the arrears. The goal gave England renewed belief and they continued to dominate play with the Dutch looking to break quickly on the counter-attack. It was from another corner however that England equalised as Matt Edwards again headed home and setup a thrilling finale.
With both sides unable to find a winner in normal time, the game moved into extra-time with both sides visibly tiring. The first period was fairly even with few chances but the second period saw plenty of incident. England were awarded a penalty early in the second period for a foul on Lerone Plummer but for the second game running were left ruing a missed opportunity as Sleiman Mbarouk fired the kick over the bar. From the resultant goal kick, Holland then moved straight down the other end of the pitch to score and give them the lead again.
England pressed forward in search of a late goal again but it proved not to be. England will now face France in the third-place play-off on Sunday lunchtime with the aim of leaving the tournament on a high.
Head Coach Chris Dowhan told TheFA.com: “I am proud of the boys today and the way they came back into the game after being behind at half-time. Sometimes it is just not your day and to concede straight after we missed the penalty proved to be the last straw. We have a game left against France though and now need to make sure we finish the tournament on a high.”
K. Ginever, J. Walne, C. Allen, M. Edwards, A. Bilal, L. Plummer, G. Chukwuma, S. Reid (G. Simmons), R. Greenidge, R. Gallagher (C. Farrell), S. Mbarouk
M. Edwards (47, 68).