England U19s cruise to a comfortable Euro qualifying win over Andorra
England 7-0 Andorra
UEFA European U19 Championship Qualifier
2pm, Saturday 12 October 2013
Mestni Stadion, Ptuj, Slovenia
By Jamie Reid in Ptuj
It was job done with aplomb for England U19s as they set up a Group 9 decider against Switzerland with a convincing 7-0 victory against Andorra.
Knowing that Thursday’s 1-1 draw against Slovenia meant goal difference could prove crucial, Noel Blake's side came out of the blocks flying.
First-half strikes from Mason Bennett, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and a brace from Ben Pearson gave the Young Lions a four-goal advantage at the break.
Carlton Morris got his first of the game, while Bennett and Loftus-Cheek added to their first-half goals in the second period, as we ran out comfortable victors.
With goals very much the order of the day, a positive start was imperative and the England set about their task from the off.
They could have been two up within the opening minute. Jordon Ibe twice fired in low across the Andorran penalty box, only for the ball to be scrambled clear.
It was almost three minutes into the game Justo Gonazalez’s side got a touch, and remarkably 44 minutes in before goalkeeper Luke Coddington’s got his gloves on the ball, as the gulf in class was glaringly apparent.
England kept probing, testing the Andorra goalkeeper and you sensed it was only a matter of time before the deadlock was broken and the floodgates opened. On 18 minutes the breakthrough came and the impressive Ibe was inevitably involved.
The youngster went past his marker with consummate ease and whipped in a wonderful right-foot cross, which was met by Bennett at the back post.
England doubled the lead almost immediately as Loftus-Cheek made it two with a powerful right-foot effort from the edge of the box after Andorra failed to clear.
Carlton Morris almost scored a spectacular, if somewhat unconventional, goal on 32 minutes, as he mistimed a bicycle kick only for the ball to fall as his feet as he landed – he somehow managed to swipe a leg out as he fell and the ball strike the post.
Moments later though it was three. Josh Murphy found space on the left and fired a low cross into the box, where Manchester United midfielder Ben Pearson was there to meet it and confidently fired in low to Silverio’s right.
“One more before the break” shouted England’s head coach, sensing Andorra were on the rails. The Young Lions upped the tempo on Blake’s instructions and it was the impressive Pearson again who obliged.
The skillful midfielder latched on to a loose ball as Andorra failed to clear their lines and fired high to the beleaguered Victor Silverio’s net, this time with his left.
The second half began as the first ended – with England scoring.
Loftus-Cheek got his second of the game as once again Andorra failed to deal with a low cross and the Chelsea midfielder confidently placed the ball into the corner of the net, giving Silverio no chance.
The floodgates had opened and midway through the second half the heavens followed suit. Conditions became tricky. England briefly lost the fluidity they had shown throughout the first half.
It didn’t last long though as we soon regained the momentum and Morris made it six with a close-range finish from Ibe’s looping cross.
Bennett got his second and England’s seventh and final of the game with 12 minutes remaining. As the rain beat down, the tempo eased and minds turned to Tuesday.
Elsewhere in the group, Switzerland beat hosts Slovenia 3-1 – meaning a draw in the final match on Tuesday against the Swiss will be enough to ensure the Young Lions progress to the Elite Round in the spring of 2014.
However, Blake’s boys will be focused on all three points to earn the all-important top spot and a seeded spot in the next round of qualification.
13 Luke Coddington, 2 Calum Chambers (C) (7 John Swift, 64), 15 Shay Facey, 16 Jake Cooper (6 Isaac Hayden, 68), 4 Lewis Baker, 8 Ben Pearson, 14 Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 12 Mason Bennett, 11 Jordon Ibe, 18 Josh Murphy, 17 Carlton Morris (10 Chuba Akpom, 64).
Substitutes not used 1 Mitchell Beeney, 3 Harry Toffolo, 5 Adam Webster, 9 James Wilson.
Goals Bennett (18, 78), Loftus-Cheek (20, 48), Pearson (41, 45+2), Morris (57).
Head Coach Noel Blake
13 Victor Silverio, 2 Marc Bessa (4 Raimon Costas Vila, 61), 3 Claudi Bove, 5 Max Llovera, 6 Josep Maria Cabanes, 7 Alex Bove (16 Cristian González, 56), 8 Albert Reyes, 9 Aaron Sanchez, 15 Ricard Llovera, 17 Andreu Matos Muñoz (12 Cristovao Albino, 74), 18 Victor Calviño (C).
Substitutes not used 1 Joel Garcia, 10 Brian Teixeira, 11 Leandro Fernandes, , 14 Jonathan Fernades.
Manager Justo Ruis Gonzalez
Referee Nerijus Dunauskas (Lithuania)