England Under-20s turned in another dominant display against the Czech Republic but this time could not make it count as they were beaten 1-0 following a first-half strike from Jakub Yunis.
New head coach Keith Downing made eight changes to the side which started Saturday’s 5-0 win over the same opposition at St. George’s Park, but the rotated side looked set to pick up where their team-mates left off, starting confidently at the home of Shrewsbury Town.
England 0-1 Czech Republic
Under-20s International match
Greenhous Meadow, Shrewsbury
Monday 7 September 2015
Downing’s men could have been ahead inside five minutes after a superb combination between Demarai Gray and Brandon Barker, with the Birmingham winger lobbing the ball over the Czech defence to find Barker’s penetrating run.
The Manchester City man found himself one-on-one with Nemrava Vit, but volleyed just over the bar.
The away side had yet to really settle into the game when they won a corner after 10 minutes. The delivery looped over the box, but the resulting build-up on the opposite side led to a low ball into the feet of Yunis, who spun on to his right foot and fired into the bottom corner to give the visitors an early lead.
Martin Svedik’s side looked more assured after their goal, but England were soon threatening again, with Reece Burke playing the ball across for Che Adams, who shot just wide from inside the box.
Gray continued to influence proceedings, first driving down the right and pulling back for Harry Winks to fire narrowly past the far post, then feeding Adams, who showed excellent strength to shake off Martin Toml, only to again miss by the narrowest of margins.
Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell was lively again after his goal in the win at St. George’s Park, setting up Bryn Morris with a well-shaped cross from the left in the 36th minute, but the skipper headed just over the bar.
But despite dominating the half, Downing’s young Lions could have gone in two-down if Jakub Jankto’s firmly struck effort from the edge of the box two minutes before the interval had been a little lower.
Gray went closest for England in the early stages of the second half, cutting in from the right and shooting just wide on his left foot nine minutes after the restart. But Jankto again came close to putting the visitors two up shortly after, rattling the post from a tight angle.
Sheffield United hitman Adams drew a fingertip save from Vit in the Czech Republic goal three minutes later, turning just outside the box and striking a deflected low effort towards the far corner, before another near miss for Gray five minutes later.
The wide man was found by a fine diagonal ball from Chilwell, and drove in from the right flank to send a long-range effort whistling past the post.
But the Czech Republic continued to enjoy sporadic chances to extend their lead, with Ladislav Takacs just inches away from connecting for a far post tap-in at a corner with 14 minutes left.
Substitute Jermaine Anderson then fired straight at Vit, with the goalkeeper holding another effort from Adams moments later before the Czech Republic held on for the win.
England (4-3-3): 1 Ted Smith (Southend United); 12 Ashley Smith-Brown (Manchester City), 6 Ola Aina (Chelsea), 19 Reece Burke (Bradford City), 3 Ben Chilwell (Leicester City); 17 Bryn Morris (Coventry City, on loan from Middlesbrough; captain), 16 Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur), 18 Ryan Kent (Liverpool); 14 Demarai Gray (Birmingham City), 9 Che Adams (Sheffield United), 11 Brandon Barker (Manchester City).
Substitutes: 5 Cole Kpekawa (Queens Park Rangers) for Burke 60, 2 Mason Holgate (Everton) for Smith-Brown 64, 7 Alex Gilliead (Newcastle United) for Kent 65, 15 Jermaine Anderson (Peterborough United) for Morris 78, 10 Reece Brown (Birmingham City) for Winks 86, 8 Cameron Brannagan (Liverpool) for Barker 86.
Subs not used: 4 Aaron Kuhl (Reading), 13 Russell Griffiths (Everton).
Head coach: Keith Downing
Czech Republic (4-3-3): 1 Nemrava Vit; 9 Michael Rezac, 6 Ladislav Takacs, 5 Martin Toml (captain), 17 Matej Helesic; 8 Jiri Kulhanek, 14 Jakub Jankto, 19 Jan Suchan; 13 Tomas Hykel, 10 Jakub Yunis, 7 Lukas Buchvaldek.
Substitutes: 18 Lukas Sadilek for Jankto 60, 12 Jan Matej for Suchan 68, 15 David Panek for Hykel 68, 3 Marek Sisa for Buchvaldek 69, 11 Erik Puchel for Helesic 74, 20 David Surmaj for Yunis 74.
Subs not used: 16 Martin Otahal.
Goals: Yunis 11
Head coach: Martin Svedík.
Watch highlights of England U20s' two games with Czech Republic in September