The England U18 Schoolboys drew 1-1 with Wales at Hednesford Town on Friday 28th April to share the hummel Centenary Shield with their Welsh counterparts. England Captain Laiith Fairnie continued his scoring run from an England set piece and a fantastic turnout saw over 1300 fans supporting the Schoolboys at Hednesford Town FC.
England’s first big chance of the game came in the 16th minute when Rio Joisce’s freekick was tipped around the post by Webber in the Welsh Goal. The following corner was floated in by Joisce only to find the side netting.
The next big chance of the game fell to England with Ollie Fraser driving inside off the left, his shot was charged down by a Welsh defender with the ball falling to Oscar Fletcher. His close-range effort was well stopped by Webber in the Welsh goal who rushed out to smother the ball.
A midfield battle dominated the first half action with both teams attempting to gain control of the game England were racking up the corners with strong runs from Rio Joisce and Ollie Fraser, beating their full backs on multiple occasions. This pressure paid off in the 33rd minute when Rio Joisce whipped a corner deep onto the head of the onrushing Laiith Fairnie who put the England Schoolboys into the lead.
The England defence stood strong for the remainder of the first half, with Jasper Sheik claiming a floated cross into the box and the centre back’s dealing with aerial balls into the box well. A good first half from England saw them go into the break 1-0 up and on their way to lifting the hummel Centenary Shield.
England striker Sam Johnson had to first chance of the second half, his shot from the angle was deflected and flew agonisingly wide of the far post. Shortly after, Johnson was presented with a golden opportunity to double the lead when a header from Fletcher put the striker through on goal. His resulting effort was comfortably saved by the Welsh keeper who launched a counterattack, kicking the ball long. Murtas brought the ball down, skipped away from Smith and unleashed a devastating finish into the top corner giving Sheik no chance.
With the score level and both teams equal on points in the hummel Centenary Shield, both sides pushed for a winner. The next big chance fell to Johnson again, a quick one- two with Towns on the edge of the box bought Johnson some space and his low effort was brillianty tipped onto the post by Webber in the Welsh goal.
With two minutes to go, Oscar Fletcher delivered another brilliant free kick into the penalty area, once again finding the head of the captain Fairnie who this time headed just over the bar. The final chance of the game was created by second half substitute Aaron Cocks who found his fellow substitute Jay Sangha at the back post whose header into the ground couldn’t quite find the net.
The momentous fixture at Hednesford Town FC finished 1-1 meaning both teams finished on ten points in the hummel Centenary Shield, and the trophy was shared. Congratulations to both the Wales U18 Schoolboys and the England U18 Schoolboys on their brilliant campaigns.
Photo Credit: 353Photography
The National Governing Body for Schools’ Football in England.