ESFA Internationals, featured, Match Reports

Centenary Shield Match Report: England v Wales

England Under 18 Schoolboys’ final game ended in 4-1 defeat to a strong Welsh side at Llansawel FC. A Jack Bates penalty levelled the scores at 1-1, however it wasn’t enough for England to get anything out of the game. Before kick-off, both sides paid tribute to Sam Harding, the former England Schoolboys midfielder who very sadly passed away earlier in the week.

Wales could’ve taken the lead within the first five minutes, as a free kick fell into the path of Gabe Kircough, who fired his volley well over the bar. The pressure on the England goal continued, as Wales broke forward Jake Morris found himself unmarked on the back post, however his half volley also whistled over the bar. England’s first effort on target came from Bates, who’s ambitious free kick from the edge of the box was fired straight at the keeper.

Moments later it was Wales’s turn to try their luck from distance, only for Josh Mazfari to acrobatically tip the ball onto the bar. The chances continued to come, and this time it was England who could’ve fired themselves into the lead. Alfie Dean found himself on the edge of the area with a clear sight at goal, only for his left footed drive to fall straight into the arms of Ifan Knott in the Wales goal.

As England were wondering how they weren’t in the lead, Wales took advantage. The ball bobbled around in the area and fell kindly to Roan Piper, who’s left footed effort to find the back of the net to give Wales the lead.

After half-an-hour, England had a chance to strike level, as Jack Beerling created an opening, only for his low effort to flash past the wrong side of the post. The visitors wouldn’t have to wait much longer for their next chance, as Bailey Hall was hacked down in the area. Bates confidently stepped up to fire England level, and their pressure had paid off.

The sides looked to be heading into the break level, until Joshua Williams found himself with a chance from the edge of the area. His right footed effort beat Mazfari to restore Wales’s lead going into the interval.

England started the second period on the front foot, as they chased another equaliser. However, the Welsh defence stood firm and limited the visitors few openings in front of goal. Wales also created chances, with only some heroic defending from Ashton Fox keeping the deficit at one goal.

The hosts continued to dominate and found themselves with a free kick 20 yards from goal. Williams stepped up and his right footed effort would have caused problems for two goalkeepers as it whistled into the top corner.

England now had a mountain to climb but it wasn’t for the lack of trying. A long ball forward from Bates caused problems for Knott, who’s punch fell kindly into the path of Dean who fired his effort over the bar. England, who were looking to build an attack, played themselves into trouble. Mazfari mis controlled the ball and brought Williams in the area, the referee pointed to the spot and Wales had a chance to wrap it up. Williams stepped up from 12 yards out and fired into the bottom corner for his hat-trick and Wales’s fourth.

The clock ran down and Wales sealed their victory, the win means they remain top of the table heading into their final game with the Republic of Ireland. The result was England’s only loss of the tournament, having beaten Northern Ireland and Scotland, before picking up a point against the Republic of Ireland, they can look back on their performances with pride.

You can watch a replay of the full match here

Photo credits: 353 Photography

ESFA Internationals, featured, Match Reports

Bob Docherty Cup match report: England v Republic of Ireland

England Under 15 Schoolgirls were beaten 4-1 by the Republic of Ireland in their second game of the Bob Docherty Cup in Newcastle. Niamh Boothroyd was on target for the home side, but it wasn’t enough to make it two wins from two. There will be a two-day break before the finals commence on Thursday.

Whilst Ireland dominated the possession in the early stages, it was England who had the first chance of the game. A clever ball from Emily Cassap found its way into Niamh Boothroyd, who’s left footed shot was saved by Clodagh Fitzgerald in the Ireland goal. Moments later, Fitzgerald would be called into action again. As a free kick was launched into the box, it looked to be falling into the path of Cassap, only for the Irish stopper to get there first.

With over 20 minutes of the half gone, England looked to be the side most likely to score, Boothroyd cleverly rounded Fitzgerald, only for her touch to be too heavy and the chance went begging. Despite England’s pressure, it was Ireland who struck first, just after half an hour into the game. A corner was floated into the centre of the box and Orlaith Doherty was on hand to bundle the ball home and give Ireland the lead.

England looked to hit back straight away as Taya Pomfret tested Fitzgerald from distance. The half time whistle sounded, and England could count themselves a little unlucky to go into the break behind. Despite dominating the possession for the early stages of the second half, England didn’t manage to create any clear openings, with the Irish defence proving tough to break down.

In similar fashion to the first goal, Ireland won themselves a corner against the run of play, this time Chloe Wallace was on hand to fire the ball home. England’s heads didn’t drop, and they continued to see most of the ball, but again Ireland refused to let them have any sight on goal. An error in the middle of the park saw Ireland’s captain Hannah Healy break forward, she found herself one on one with the goalkeeper and calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner.

At three goals down England seemed to have a mountain to climb, however they did find a glimmer of hope with ten minutes remaining. The ball fell kindly to Boothroyd on the edge of the box, who without hesitation fired the ball past Fitzgerald into the back of the net.

However, before England had a chance to find another, Ireland restored their three-goal lead. A long ball forward caused problems in the defence and Doherty found herself through on goal, she was forced wide but managed to whip a cross into the box. The ball fell to Leah McGrath on the edge of the box and her left footed drive found the bottom corner to put the result beyond all doubt.

England again tried to break down the Ireland defence to no avail. Ireland comfortably saw out what was a convincing win over an England side who may be scratching their heads as to how they lost this one.

The side will now have a two day break before the finals commence on Thursday.

Photo credits: 353 Photography