England’s U20s travelled the short distance from St. George’s Park to New Bucks Head Stadium in Telford on Thursday evening for their first game of the season against the Netherlands.
After a frantic start in which the early possession was shared equally, Keith Downing's team grew into the game gradually and, after restricting the Dutch side to a number of shots that were unable to find the target, began to assert themselves on the game and dominate possession.
- International U20 Match
- Thursday 31 August 2017
- New Bucks Head Stadium, AFC Telford
- By Tom Everett
Manchester City’s Demeaco Duhaney and Isaac Buckley-Ricketts, who is currently on loan at FC Twente, controlled much of England’s play down the right in the first half with some fantastic combinations but it was the Netherlands who continued to threaten breaking the deadlock.
Grot found himself free in the box after a slight lapse in concentration from England but couldn’t get a shot away and Nathan Trott was able to gather once more.
After noticing his side’s success down the right hand side, Benfica’s Chris Willock switched from the left and played in Marcus Edwards of Tottenham Hotspur who was then abruptly brought down on the edge of the box in a promising position.
Edwards picked himself up to take the free-kick and curled a stunning left-footed strike past the outstretched arms of the Netherlands goalkeeper Nihuis in the 27th minute.
Some impressive play down the left hand side then found Stephy Mavididi bearing down on goal but his cross couldn’t find Wiillock at the back post and England went leading 1-0 at half time.
Immediately after the break, the Dutch found themselves down to ten men after a challenge from their captain Justin Hoogma was deemed a red card by the match official, Daniel Schlager.
England were able to dominate possession from this point on, with Willock having two opportunities on goal that Nijhuis was equal to and Mavididi also going close.
The Young Lions pressure eventually paid off when Mavididi once again found himself in front of goal and chipped a delightful shot over Nihuis in the 70th minute.
And less than five minutes later, Downing’s side added to their lead after Darnell Johnson found the ball at his feet following an indirect England free-kick. The Leicester defender made no mistake and fired the ball into the Dutch net.
Edwards almost capped a fantastic night with a second goal after he was brought down in the box for an England penalty after a mazy run. However, although he picked himself up once more to take it, he couldn’t find the net and placed the ball over the crossbar.
Downing’s side will now be on their travels with confidence, as they head to Switzerland for their second game of the week on Monday.
England: 1 Nathan Trott (West Ham); 2 Demeaco Duhaney (Manchester City), 5 Darnell Johnson (Leicester), 6 Easah Suliman (Aston Villa), 3 Jay Dasilva (Charlton Athletic, loan from Chelsea); 4 Tayo Edun (Fulham), 8 Sam Field (West Brom); 7 Isaac Buckley-Ricketts (FC Twente, loan from Manchester City), 10 Marcus Edwards (Tottenham Hotspur), 11 Chris Willock (Benfica); 9 Stephy Mavididi (Preston North End, loan from Arsenal)
Substitutions: Andre Green (Aston Villa) for Buckley-Ricketts 62, Josh DaSilva (Arsenal) for Field 62, Ronaldo Vieira (Leeds United) for Edun 70, Lloyd Kelly (Bristol City) for Dasilva 70, Kaylen Hinds (Wolsburg) for Mavididi 70, Jacob Maddox (Chelsea) for Willock 74, James Justin (Luton Town) for Duhaney 74
Goals: Edwards (27), Mavididi (70), Johnson 75
Head coach: Keith Downing