Super sub Akpom nets twice as U20s stun Holland

Saturday 11 Oct 2014
The U20s celebrate their dramatic victory in Holland
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Chuba Akpom came off the bench to score twice in the closing stages as England U20s grabbed a dramatic 3-2 victory in Holland.

Trailing 2-1 with 87 minutes played, manager Aidy Boothroyd threw caution to the wind and brought on two forwards for defenders – and the gamble sensationally paid off.

After beating Germany 1-0 in the first game of the Four Nations Tournament, Boothroyd made nine changes as he looked to spread minutes on the pitch throughout his squad.

England U20s 3-2 Holland

Four Nations Tournament
Saturday 11 October

Only captain Isaac Hayden and Tottenham Hotspur defender Dominic Ball lined up for a second game in three days.

And it was the hosts that got off to the better start, taking the lead through Jordy de Wijs. 

Chuba Akpom scored twice in the closing stages to give England the win

The Young Lions reacted well, however, and drew level on the stroke of half-time through Everton striker Chris Long.

The second half was a keenly contested affair. But Holland retook the lead with 10 minutes remaining thanks to a Rai Vloet penalty.

The goal proved the catalyst for Boothroyd’s changes.

Everton's Chris Long is congratulated by team-mates after his first-half goal

“We were 2-1 down with a few minutes to go and we simply had to go for it,” he told after the game. 

Akpom, on for Arsenal team-mate Hayden, first drew the Young Lions level from the spot in the 89th minute, before dramatically snatching victory from the jaws of defeat with an added-time winner.

“Sometimes you make substitutions and they work, and sometimes they don’t. On this occasion Chuba came on and scored two great goals,” added Boothroyd.

Aidy Boothroyd's side have now beaten Germany and Holland - and face Turkey next

“But the whole team never gave in and never stopped believing.

“We want to teach them about tactics and the psychological side of things – but there’s a lot to be said for downright determination and resilience – and this group has that in abundance. 

“And that’s why we won the game in the end. We might not have been the better team, but we still won and I’m very pleased.

“We had to make a few changes as some of the boys had run themselves into the ground – but that’s what it’s all about, to have a squad that can come on and do well at any time.”

Match-winner Akpom, who celebrated his 19th birthday with the squad on Thursday, was also unable to hide his delight after netting his thrilling brace.

“I’m absolutely buzzing, these are the kind of moments you live for”

Chuba Akpom 

“I’m absolutely buzzing, these are the kind of moments you live for,” he said.

“To score a goal for your country, at any level or at any time during the game is an amazing feeling – but to score two late goals to win the game is just the best.

“Me and Callum [Robinson] work well together. I’ve seen him pick up the ball and he knows the types of runs I like to make.

“He played me in and I managed to put it in on the near post with my left foot. 

“To see it fly in was the best feeling ever. I just felt full of adrenalin and then the whole team piled on top of me.”

Next up for Boothroyd’s U20s is the final fixture of the round-robin tournament. They face Turkey at 6pm on Monday 13 October.

England (4-2-3-1): 1 Christian Walton (Brighton & Hove Albion); 2 Isaac Hayden (C) (Arsenal), 5 Dominic Ball (Tottenham Hotspur), 14 Lloyd Jones (Liverpool), 12 Fankaty Dabo (Chelsea); 18 Jordan Houghton (Chelsea), 15 Ben Pearson (Manchester United); 16 Joe Rothwell (Manchester United), 17 Jacob Murphy (Norwich City), 20 John Swift (Chelsea, on loan at Rotherham); 19 Chris Long (Everton).

Substitutes: 6 Kortney Hause (Wolverhampton Wonderers, on loan at Gillingham) for Dabo, 61. 10 Callum Robinson (Aston Villa, on loan at Preston) for Ball, 75. 9 Chuba Akpom (Arsenal) for Hayden, 87. 8 Kwame Thomas (Derby County) for Murphy, 87. 4 Harrison Reed (Southampton) for Pearson, 90+1.

Substitutes not used: 13 Joe Wildsmith (Sheffield Wednesday), 3 Matt Targett (Southampton), 11 Paul Digby (Barnsley).

Goals: Long (45), Akpom (89, 90+1)

Head Coach: Aidy Boothroyd

Watch highlights of England's second game in Heerenveen


By Jamie Reid Senior Writer