The England U18 Schoolboys got their international campaign off to the best possible start on Saturday 29th January with a 4-1 win in a friendly against the RAF U23 representative team.
The day kicked off with a kit presentation where the squad received their brand new England Shirts , designed by ESFA kit provider Pro:Direct and displaying ESFA Principle partner Utilita’s Energy High5 campaign!
The afternoon saw the squad play together for the first time and lads got off to a flying start as their pressing and energy made for an uncomfortable afternoon for their opponents with captain Josh Stones taking just 12 minutes to open the scoring.
A smart move down the right saw a perfect slide rule delivery from Thomas Gruzewski into the path of Stones who finished clinically for a 1-0 lead.
Despite chances to do so, the England side could not add to their lead with Bailey Hall going close on a couple of occasions and Freddie Legg’s effort from the edge of the area close to adding to Stones early effort.
The RAF were by no means bit part players though and a well worked equaliser down the right hand side levelled the scores midway through the half, albeit parity did not last long.
Once again the energetic Stones was on the scoresheet, this time bearing down on goal before skipping inside three defenders and around the goalkeeper to fire home from the edge of the box.
The score remained that way at the break although the RAF will wonder how they missed a golden chance to equalise when a bouncing through ball was lifted over the advancing Harvey Keogh in the England goal but also over the crossbar.
The second half saw a number of chances for England to kill the game off spurned as a combination of the RAF keeper, the woodwork and some off colour shooting keeping the score at 2-1 and, as a result, you had a sense an equaliser was always a threat on the break.
However, despite Stones narrowly heading over for what would have been a dream hat-trick for the captain, the third goal was not far behind. Oscar Fletcher finally found the net with a right footed drive from 20 yards out with Alfie Dean firing home from inside the box to end the scoring for the afternoon.
All in all an impressive first game together for the lads and one from which they and the coaching staff will hope to build on with their next friendly fixture just two weeks away.
Thanks to everyone who came to support on Saturday and also a massive thank you to the RAF for once again providing a stern test in a game played in excellent spirit throughout.
The England U18 Schoolboys face a trip to Crystal Palace Academy on Saturday 12th February before their 4 day training camp at St Georges Park towards the end of February. They will then travel to Shrewsbury School for a fixture vs ISFA U18 Schoolboys on Sunday 6th March for their final friendly before the SAFIB Centenary Shield.
Centenary Shield 2022
|Thursday 3 March||Scotland||N Ireland||Renfrew FC||7pm|
|Thursday 10 March||N Ireland||Wales||Wolff Welders FC||7pm|
|Thursday 17 March||ROI||Scotland||Home Farm FC||7pm|
|Friday 25 March||N Ireland||England||Wolff Welders FC||7pm|
|Thursday 31 March||ROI||N Ireland||Buncrana Hearts FC||7pm|
|Friday 1 April||England||Scotland||Spennymoor Town FC||7pm|
|Thursday 7 April||Scotland||Wales||Annan Athletic||7pm|
|Friday 8 April||England||ROI||Eastleigh FC||7pm|
|Thursday 14 April||Wales||England||Llansawel FC||7pm|
|Thursday 21 April||Wales||ROI||Caernarfon||7pm|
To purchase any photos from the game, please contact ThreeFiveThree Photography. For any media enquiries please contact Jacob Blades on Jacob.Blades@schoolsfa.com.
The National Governing Body for Schools’ Football in England.