ESFA Internationals

Centenary Shield Match Report: Republic of Ireland v England

The England Under 18 Schoolboys began their hummel Centenary Shield campaign with a 3-1 win over a strong Republic of Ireland side at Athlone Town FC on Friday 24 March. The first goal of the campaign was scored by England midfielder, Jacob Towns.

The first chance of the game fell to England after a great turn by Rio Joisce in the centre of the park and then releasing Sam Johnson over the top who took the ball down in his control, before trying an audacious chip which ended just wide of the goal.

In the 9th minute, England were awarded a corner where Rio put in an inviting cross and Ireland only managed to clear this to the edge of the box, where Jacob Towns ran onto the ball and shot towards goal, beating the goalkeeper after taking a slight deflection.

England did not have long to wait to double their lead as in the 17th minute, after some intricate play inside the Irish box, Oscar Fletcher managed to find Luke Slater who scored in the bottom left corner from a tight angle.

The Republic had a great chance in the 21st minute, after a good ball over the top left the England Captain, Laiith Fairnie running back to his own goal. Republic of Ireland number 9, Brian Cunningham, forced a great save from James Taylor who closed down the gap and made himself look big, keeping the two-goal lead for England.

England defender, Tyrese Hughes received the first yellow card of the campaign, after colliding with Peter Grogan who was through on goal. The resulting free kick on the edge of the box was sent just wide by the Irish number 14, Adam O’Halloran. A let off for England.

The ROI started to apply pressure by moving the ball around the pitch well. A good ball through to Ireland striker, Cunningham was intercepted by Fairnie who was then caught by the striker, which resulted in the first booking for the Republic of Ireland.

Ireland clawed a goal back in the forty-second minute after a good switch of play from the centre of the park to the right winger. He managed to get past Hughes and after an unfortunate slip by Fairnie, left the player 1 v 1 with England goalkeeper, Taylor. The striker came out triumphant after slipping the ball past Taylor at the near post.

At half time the score remained 1-2 to England.

The first chance of the second half fell to England with a free kick just outside the Irish box. Oscar Fletcher put in a good cross, but unfortunately England could not extend their lead, as Fairnie couldn’t guide his attempt towards goal.

England Manager, Luke Hampton, made his first substitution in the 61st minute by making a like for like change, replacing Hughes for Jack Bostock.

A good link-up in the middle of the park between Town, Fletcher and Joisce created an opportunity for Salter 1v1, however this time the keeper managed to keep the ball out of the net with a good save down to his right-hand side; which was then cleared up the pitch by the Irish defence.

England managed to extend their lead to two goals again through Salter, who scored his second goal of the game. The goal came from a good overlap from Salter with Fraser playing a good pass to find him. Salter cut inside, shot through the crowd and beat the keeper at the near post.

England received a free-kick on the edge of the box, Salter who was on a hattrick stood over the ball. The freekick beat the wall but unfortunately for Salter the keeper made a good save and the score remained at 1-3. Luke Hampton looked to bring fresh legs on for the second time of the game, by bringing on Jay Sangha for Fletcher in the 75th minute.

With ten minutes left of normal time, the Republic of Ireland received a corner. A good flick on to the back post left an Irish player with what he thought was an easy tap in. However, James Taylor had a different idea by covering the length of this goal and making an unbelievable save to keep a two-goal lead for England.

Dominic Cupid came on for Fraser in the 84th minute to make his debut and supply some fresh legs for the remaining few minutes.

With six minutes added time, England dug in deep to secure the three points with a hope to carry the momentum on to the next game against Scotland at Broadwood Stadium on the 31st March 2023.

You can watch a replay of the full match here.

Photo credits: 353 Photography

ESFA Internationals

England U18 Schoolboys 2 – 1 Notts County Academy

England U18 Schoolboys’ successful in their training camp friendly, arranged by ESFA sports tour partners, inspiresport

The England Schoolboys continued their training camp activity with a hard earned 2-1 win over Notts County on the Sir Alf Ramsay pitch at St Georges Park on Friday 25 February.

The opening half was one of frustration for England as they faced a tough opponent who were asking plenty of questions all over the park, with the England lads struggling to make any inroads offensively in the early stages.

Jack Bates saw his free-kick from 25 yards out blocked by the wall, with Josh Stones next to threaten as he ran at the defence and created space before firing over. Stones then turned provider with a neat back heel into the path of Alfie Dean, but the striker was denied by the impressive Notts keeper.

Jakub Hebda’s looping effort was saved by the keeper before Notts took the lead, a cross into the box wasn’t dealt with and the striker side footed into the net. Just before the break, Stones had an opportunity but was again denied by the keeper.

The second half saw a number of changes and England became more dangerous from the off. Demico Burton’s shot drifting just wide before Noah Carney had a low shot saved by the keeper down to his left.

Good work from Burton set up Carney for another shot, which the keeper dealt with before Freddie Legg surged down the right and laid the ball across the box on a plate for Bailey Hall to side foot home from 4 yards out.

Ashton Fox turned and shot over the bar from 12 yards out, following a cross into the box, while Carney was again testing the keeper before Josh Mazfari made a couple of good saves to prevent Notts going back in front.

With Stones back on, he tested the keeper with a shot from a narrow angle before turning provider, heading down the left and crossing for Carney to finally find a way past the Notts keeper – steering the ball home from close range. Stones saw a low shot turned round the post by the keeper a minute later, with the last of the goalmouth action before the final whistle.

All in all an excellent test for the lads against a strong opponent with a strong and energetic second half performance turning round the half time deficit.

Thanks to Notts County for travelling over, some excellent players on show and they more than played their part in an entertaining match – we wish them well for the remainder of the season.

The England U18 Schoolboys’ next friendly fixture is Sunday 6 March against their ISFA counterparts at Shrewsbury School. The ESFA would like to wish the squad the very best of luck for this fixture.

Match report and photos supplied by 353 Photography