Connolly, Maitland-Niles and Armstrong seal win

Saturday 15 Nov 2014
Adam Armstrong was on target for England U18s
A rampant second-half display saw England U18s come from behind to defeat Poland in Gdynia on Saturday.

Having trailed by a goal at the break, strikes from Callum Connolly, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Adam Armstrong ensured the Young Lions won the first of their double-header against the Poles.

Having missed the last trip to Italy, Ryan Ledson was back in the side to lead out the Young Lions, whilst three other absentees from that game also returned as Taylor Moore, Josh Sims and Armstrong lined-up for Dewsnip’s youngsters.

Poland 2-3 England

U18 international
Saturday 15 November 2014
Gdynia City Stadium, Gdansk

Marcus Rashford, making his first international appearance for two years, and Charlton Athletic’s Karlan Ahearne-Grant, called up for the first time since February, were included in the attack and looked lively as England started brightly.

But backed by a vocal crowd, Poland kept the early attacks of their visitors at bay as neither side created an opening during the opening exchanges until the 20 minute mark when Moore headed over a Ledson free-kick.

The momentum was beginning to swing in England’s favour though and they began to show their teeth as Rashford raced clear of the defence before squaring across goal – but none of his fellow Lions were on hand to inflict the fatal bite.

The pace of Dewsnip’s side was causing the hosts all sorts of problems, and the woodwork only denied the visitors an opener on 31 minutes following a speedy counter-attack. 

Moore raced clear as he brought the ball out from a Poland corner and found Armstrong. The Newcastle United forward then teed up Rashford to pull the trigger, but his 25-yard strike cannoned back off the upright.

Ahearne-Grant and Armstrong had further chances to break the deadlock within a minute of each other as their opponents looked to be on the ropes, but both narrowly missed the target as England let Poland off the hook again.

And their lack of finishing was to prove costly just minutes before the break. Moore was penalised for a foul 30 yards out, and against the run of play, Michal Walski lashed home the free-kick to break the deadlock and give his side a half-time lead.

Connolly is congratulated by his team-mates after his opening goal

Connolly scored his third goal in as many games

No changes were made by either side at the break, but England flew out of the traps swiftly and found themselves level within five minutes of the restart. Ahearne-Grant won a corner down the left. The impressive Rashford whipped the ball in to the near post and Connolly rose to head past the 'keeper – the Everton defender’s third goal in as many games for his country.

It was almost 2-1 to the visitors from their next corner too, as after a spot of pinball in the area, the ball ran loose to Armstrong but his effort was saved by Adam Makuchowski.

The home 'keeper was unable to do anything on the hour mark though, as the Young Lions swung the scoreline on its head and took a deserved lead. Ahearne-Grant broke down the right into the area and pulled the ball back for Arsenal midfielder Maitland-Niles to rifle home from 12 yards to silence the Gdynia crowd.

And you could have heard a pin drop on 69 minutes as England doubled their advantage. Josh Sims produced some good work to break into the area before touching it to Armstrong – and the striker showed his predatory instinct as he took a touch and unleashed an unstoppable low drive inside the post.

It should have been game over at that point as it looked as if Dewsnip’s men would run away with it, but they allowed their hosts back into it five minutes later when the ball ran across the edge of the Young Lions box before Michael Olczyk struck it past Woodman from 20 yards to reduce the arrears.

Dominic Solanke and Josh Onomah entered the fray in place of Ahearne-Grant and Rashford as Dewsnip added to his earlier change of Sheyi Ojo for Sims, and it was the latter sub who came closest to adding to the scoreline as the Liverpool youngster rattled the bar from a free-kick on 85 minutes.

Poland tried to rally late on, but the closest they came was a long range swerving drive from Filip Karbowy – but Woodman showed great awareness to deny the sub and secure the win.

The second meeting between the sides will be in Gdansk on Monday.

Poland (4-3-2-1): 1 Adam Makuchowski, 20 Bartosz Skowron, 5 Szymon Walczak, 3 Szymon Jarosz, 18 Michael Olczyk; 16 Pawel Mandrysz, 4 Adrian Purzycki, 6 Michal Walski; 17 Oktawian Skrzecz (C), 13 Karol Zmijewski; 9 Pawel Krauz 

Substitutes: 19 Kevin Pytlik for Krauz (61), 8 Mario Cieslik for Mandrysz (61), 10 Filip Jagietto for Walski (73), 15 Sebastian Chrusciel for Jarosz (73), 14 Filip Karbowy for Skrecz (86), 11 Mateusz Piechowiak for Zmijewski (86).

Substitutes not used: 12 Mateusz Lis.

Goals: Walski (42), Olczyk (74)

Bookings: Szymon Walczak (21)

Head coach: Rafat Janas

England (4-2-3-1): 1 Freddie Woodman (Newcastle United), 2 Kyle Waler-Peters (Tottenham Hotspur), 5 Taylor Moore (RC Lens), 4 Tosin Adarabioyo (Manchester City), 3 Callum Connolly (Everton); 6 Ryan Ledson (Everton) (C), 8 Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal); 7 Karlan Ahearne-Grant (Charlton Athletic), 10 Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), 11 Josh Sims (Southampton); 9 Adam Armstrong (Newcastle United)

Substitutes: 16 Sheyi Ojo (Liverpool) for Sims (70), 18 Dominic Solanke (Chelsea) for Ahearne-Grant (79), 17 Josh Onomah (Tottenham Hotspur) for Rashford (79) 

Substitutes not used: 13 Sam Howes (West Ham United), 14 Jake Clarke-Salter (Chelsea), 12 Max Lowe (Derby County), 15 Liam Walsh (Everton),

Goals: Connolly (50), Maitland-Niles (60), Armstrong (69)

Bookings: Moore (68)

Head coach: Neil Dewsnip

By Gary Stonehouse Staff Writer at Gdynia City Stadium, Gdansk