England SFA U18 5 Australia SFA U18 0

Friday 24 January 2014By ESFA Office

Last Updated:
29/01/2014 15:57:59

Action from the game

Stafford Town FC

23rd January 2014

We had an excellent welcome at the recently renovated Evans Park Stadium and the Chairman and club officials could not have been more helpful. The large, flat pitch was in good condition despite heavy rain the night before, but was to cut up later. This was the last game for Australia in a long and testing tour; little did they know that it was soon to get a whole lot worse.

Just six minutes into the match the Australian keeper tried to play out from the back, only to leave his throw short of his centre back and the alert Ryan Charnley swept it up, pulled it onto his right foot and blasted home from 18 yards out as the keeper tried to regain his positioning. 1 - 0.

It was all one way traffic as the visibly shaken Australians tried to get a hold in the game, and it was not until the 12th minute that they created their first opportunity. Adam Curry had deflected away a shot and the resulting corner was lashed to the near post at a ferocious pace, crashed against the upright and to England’s relief, went safely out.

Dean Briggs responded by winning the ball by the half way line, racing at the retreating defence then choosing to shoot past the post when a lay off to the advancing Oliver Brown Hill might have brought more success. For the most part now Australia were chasing shadows and being forced to give away fouls. A free kick taken by Tyler Lyttle won a corner, which was taken by Brown Hill. Under pressure the Australian custodian could only push the ball out to the top of the box where Lyttle was waiting to crash the ball back past him from 22 yards. 2 - 0.

Australia were shell shocked and going downhill fast and it was only a matter of time before the strong Brown Hill set Ryan Charnley free down the left and just when it looked like he had taken it too far he swung his left foot and drove the ball into the roof of the net with the keeper unable to stop it. 3 - 0 and England were cruising.

England were very much in control with Paul Braithwaite directing operations in midfield and Danny Haille and Adam Curry solid at the back. Brown Hill was desperate to get his name on the score sheet but his 30 yards blast in the 33rd minute was so far off target that it made the adjoining rugby field. He was then brought down near the top left corner of the box, and up stepped Dean Briggs to spy a small gap at the far post. He shot low and with power, whipping it across the box and past the oncoming defenders into the back of the net for 4 - 0.

In the 38th minute at last Australia mounted an attack when a long ball beat Adam Curry and Nick Poppovich got clear to face Kieran O'Hara only to fire wide from 15 yards when he really should have hit the target.

At the back Australia were tentative under pressure and were making it easy for England by trying to play out from the back when strong defending would have been much more secure. Brown Hill, Briggs and Charnley were working them into submission with constant pressure and it was no surprise when Briggs hared into the box and shot firmly towards the far post. This time the keeper stuck out a foot and pushed the ball out as far as his left back who sadly fluffed his clearance and Brown Hill's follow up shot cannoned off another defender back to Briggs to tap home. 5 - 0 at half time and a clear reflection of England's power and dominance throughout the first period.

The second half was very different to the first with both sides making lots of substitutions and the game took a while to take shape again. Australia must have heard some strong words in the dressing room during the break as they came out determined to sort out the Poms, but all their new found aggression didn’t really improve their performance in the early stages of the half. After 48 minutes they did, however, create a chance when Alex Tilley burst down the right and shot to the near post, but goalkeeper Tom Hadler was able to push the ball out for a corner. Directly from the corner Daniel Bruce broke free, raced into the box and flicked the ball goalwards, but Jakob Cole was able to stretch out a palm and stop it.

At last Australia began to put some passes together and had some neat interchanges, but mostly in the middle of the park and rarely asked any questions of the English defence. Then in the 78th minute a long ball from Haille at the back sent Brown Hill away on the left and his shot sailed way over the keeper only to strike the inside of the far post and rebound back into his waiting arms.

Australian no. 5, Nathan Tidmarsh, certainly put in the effort, but in his excitement he began to lose control of some of his tackles until finally in the 80th minute he was booked for flooring Josh Woolley right in front of the stand.

Charlie Russell began to get more involved and in the 82nd minute played a superb ball inside the left back for Michael Hampson to outpace the defence and pull the ball back perfectly for Woolley but his shot scraped the wrong side of the far post. Australia responded with Peter Mercurio hitting a good shot from the top of the box which Hadler parried, then recovered at great speed to push the second shot one handed past the post. The final chance of the game fell to Woolley in the 86th minute when his shot from a tight angle beat the Australian keeper but was kicked off the line.

The second half duly ended 0-0, with much credit to Australia for a more spirited performance.

All in all a good work out for the England team, everyone played a part and the team management had excellent opportunities to study players and consider tactics for the forthcoming Centenary Shield matches.

Both teams returned to ESFA HQ for refreshments and presentations. This was the first time our offices in Stafford have been used for this purpose and thanks to the efforts of our ladies in the office it was a great success.

For a full gallery of match photos please visit RWT Photography


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