England U18s came from behind to record a comprehensive victory in Poland thanks to a superb second-half performance.
The hosts took the lead early on, but a quickfire equaliser from Dominic Solanke, a fantastic long-range free-kick from Ryan Ledson, and a Sheyi Ojo brace ensured a comfortable win.
Poland 1-4 England
Monday 17 November
MOSiR Lechia Gdansk Stadium
In a change from the 4-2-3-1 formation used during Saturday’s 3-2 victory against the same opposition, Neil Dewsnip switched systems to a midfield diamond.
Everton midfielder Liam Walsh sat just behind club colleague and England captain Ryan Ledson in midfield, who was paired with Josh Onomah in the middle.
Liverpool man Ojo sat just in front of them and behind a front two of Adam Armstrong, who scored the winner two days ago, and Chelsea forward Dominic Solanke.
Unlike the previous meeting, this match sprung into life early and the crowd only had to wait ten minutes to see the opening goal.
A poor corner was swung into the area by Poland, allowing England to clear – but it fell to the feet of Kevin Pytlik, and the hosts’ right winger thundered an unstoppable effort from 30 yards past Sam Howes and into the top corner.
Within a minute, however, the Young Lions were level. A sliced clearance from a Polish defender, under very little pressure, fell straight to Dominic Solanke.
The Chelsea man then lobbed a pass for Armstrong to chase, but the onrushing keeper got in his way and parried the ball to the right.
The predatory Solanke then dashed on to the rebound, took a touch towards goal, before picking his spot through a crowd of three defenders plus the backtracking keeper to fire home from an acute angle.
Having equalised, Dewsnip’s men attempted to build up some momentum. Callum Connolly fired wide as he attempted to add to his recent run of goals and Onomah’s whizzed pull-back was scrambled to safety with several Young Lions ready to pounce.
The visitors continued to enjoy the majority of possession, but they were unable to raise the tempo to their desired level as the half-time whistle arrived.
It was a different story after the restart as England roared out of the traps, and they quickly took the lead five minutes after the restart.
Ledson stood over a free-kick at least 40 yards out towards the left touchline, and he curled a looping strike over the scrambling keeper and inside the top corner.
Not content to have taken the lead, England poured forward again. Ojo was slipped in on goal before he was tripped by goalkeeper Mateusz Piechowiak for a penalty a minute later.
Ojo dusted himself off to take the spot kick himself, and he sent the keeper the wrong way to double his side’s advantage.
If his first was a simple finish from the spot, then Ojo’s second on 71 minutes showcased his dazzling technique as he collected possession and delicately fired the ball low inside the bottom corner from 20 yards to end the scoring and the contest.
Although Poland did hit the post from a free-kick in stoppage time, there was no doubt who the deserved winners were.
Highlights of the 4-1 victory are above (Courtesy of The Polish FA).
Poland (4-2-3-1): 12 Mateusz Piechowiak; 11 Mateusz Piechowiak, 5 Szymon Walczak, 15 Sebastian Chrusciel, 18 Michael Olczyk; 14 Filip Karbowy, 10 Filip Jagiello (C); 19 Kevin Pytlik, 8 Mario Cieslik, 13 Karol Zmijewski; 17 Oktawian Skrzecz.
Subs: 16 Pawel Mandrysz for Zmijewski 45, 6 Michal Walski for Cieslik 54, 4 Adrian Purzycki for Karbowy 54, 9 Pawel Krauz for Skrzecz 75, 20 Batrosz Skowron for Piechowiak 87, 3 Szymon Jaorosz for Pytlik 87.
Subs not used: 1 Adam Makuchowski
Goal: Kevin Pytlik 10
Bookings: Walczak 49, Piechowiak 51
Head coach: Rafat Janas
England (4-1-2-1-2): 1 Sam Howes (West Ham United), 2 Callum Connolly (Everton), 5 Taylor Moore (RC Lens), 4 Jake Clarke-Salter (Chelsea), 3 Max Lowe (Derby County); 8 Liam Walsh (Everton); 6 Ryan Ledson (captain; Everton), 10 Josh Onomah (Tottenham Hotspur); 7 Sheyi Ojo (Liverpool), 9 Adam Armstrong (Newcastle United), 11 Dominic Solanke (Chelsea).
Subs: 17 Karlan Ahearne-Grant (Charlton Athletic) for Armstrong 58, 15 Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal) for Ledson 72, 12 Kyle Walker-Peters (Tottenham Hotspur) for Connolly 72, 16 Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) for Ojo 83, 18 Josh Sims (Southampton) for Onomah 83.
Subs not used: 13 Fred Woodman (Newcastle United), 14 Tosin Adarabioyo (Manchester City)
Goals: Solanke 11, Ledson 50, Ojo 52, 71.
Bookings: Walker-Peters 90.
Head coach: Neil Dewsnip.