England U17s beat Slovenia 2-1 but Russia top Elite Qualifying Round group
England U17s 2-1 Slovenia U17s
UEFA European U17 Championship
Elite Qualifying Round
3pm, Thursday 28 March 2013
Pirelli Stadium, Burton Albion FC
by Ian Beddow
England failed to qualify for the UEFA European U17 Championship Finals despite victory in their final group game over Slovenia.
Russia progressed from Elite Group Five even though they lost to Portugal in the other group game.
Russia, England and Portugal all ended the group with six points, but the Russians have the superior record in match-ups between the three teams.
First-half goals from Charlie Colkett and captain Bryn Morris earned the Young Lions the win. The hosts played more than half the game with ten men, while Slovenian Marko Krivicic’s late reply made for an uneasy finish.
England Head Coach John Peacock made five changes from the defeat to Russia, with Connor Ogilvie, Reise Allassani, Bamidele Alli, Alex Gilliead and goalkeeper Freddie Woodman all starting.
Peacock's side opened the scoring in the 13th minute. Colkett was allowed to advance from the centre circle towards goal and, after playing a neat one-two with Allassani, smashed the ball into the net from 20 yards out.
Alli should have made it two eleven minutes later. After a great run he played the ball out wide to Gilliead, who skipped past his man before returning to Alli eight yards out, but he poked his shot wide.
Morris doubled the lead in the 27th minute, heading home Colkett’s corner from close range.
England were reduced to ten men in the 33rd minute. Dan Crowley got into a tussle with midfielder Jon Gorenc Stankovic in the build-up to an England free-kick. It earned the Slovenian a yellow card, but Crowley was sent off for his reaction.
With the extra man Slovenia came back into the game, Alen Ozbolt stung the hands of Woodman late in the first half, and Luka Gajic twice brought saves from the England goalkeeper after the break.
But Slovenia pulled a goal back 12 minutes from time, a loose ball fell to Krivicic on the left, and he expertly curled a shot past Woodman form the edge of the area.
Despite some late pressure from Slovenia, England held firm, and could even have made the game safe three minutes from time, Gilliead’s header denied by a superb save the Slovenian goalkeeper Dabanovic.
Woodman; Aina (Keithley 41), Morris (C), Ogilvie, O’Hanlon; Gilliead, Alli, Colkette (Kiwomya 69); Allassani (Gomez 62), Crowley, Fewster
Substitutes not used Gunn, Bryan, Loftus-Cheek.
Dabanovic; Poljanec, Zupanc, Marajanovic, Nemanic; Stankovic, Mrsic ©, Lorbek (Pisek 77), Gajic (Iglic 40+1), Krivicic; Ozbolt
Substitutes not used Sorcan, Pucko, Petrovcic, Vajde.