Centenary Shield: England 3 Republic of Ireland 3
Sunday 30 March 2014By ESFA Office
In a highly anticipated game, England hosted the Republic of Ireland in this crucial Centenary Shield fixture at Ashton Gate, home to Bristol City FC, on Friday 28 March.
England started slowly and found themselves a goal down after only three minutes when Craig Donellan capitalised on a defensive error.
England quickly reacted to going a goal behind and drew level after six minutes thanks to an Andrew White free-kick which was stroked confidently into the bottom corner, from the edge of the box.
As the game opened up, England took the initiative and after some great work down the right side by Tyler Lyttle, Michael Hampson found himself on the end of a great cross which he dispatched with glee.
As England attempted to gain control of the midfield, Braithwaite fed Daniel Bruce with a cutting through ball only for Duncan, the Irish goalkeeper, to smother the ball.
Both teams seemed happy to reach the half time interval to give the respective team managers the opportunity to re-organise their teams. England started well after the break and the pace of Daniel Bruce was constantly causing problems as he broke through the Irish line, but saw his effort dragged wide.
As the pressure mounted on the Irish backline, Mark Onyemah broke free down the right hand side of the penalty area where he turned back onto his favoured left foot, drifted into the box past three defenders and unleashed a fierce left foot drive from 15 yardswhich flew into the net.
Brady Hickey had a good chance some moments later and worked the keeper from a header, but it unfortunately lacked power and was gathered easily by the goalkeeper. This proved to be England’s last attacking move of note as the initiative was seized by the Irish.
Both sides began making substitutions after 60 minutes and while the Republic of Ireland team seemed galvanised by the changes, England appeared to lose shape and lacked penetration allowing the control of the game to be handed over to the visitors. McGrath and Manning in particular drove the Irish forward. When Bruce was substituted after 79 minutes, England lost their best route forward and the hosts were left to hang on in the face of an Irish charge.
The inevitable happened in the 81st minute when Aidan McCauley wriggled past Haile and won a corner on the left. The resulting corner was not dealt with by the England defence and Republic of Ireland pulled a goal back, thanks to a Ryan Manning volley at the back post.
The Irish pressure mounted and England fell deeper to consolidate. A dangerous cross from Antaine O’Laoiinto the England box was cleared, the second cross found Flanagan who headed down a superb ball into the path of Jamie McGrath who looped the ball over the England keeper to make it 3-3.
The Green shirts then attacked with purpose with the final chance of the game falling to Chris Flanagan who smashed it low towards the bottom corner only to be saved brilliantly by the fingertips of Tom Hadler.
England will undoubtedly be unhappy with their demise towards the end of the game and see this result as two points lost, rather than a point gained. Bristol City were excellent hosts for this game and the near 2000 enthusiastic supporters witnessed an outstanding game of schools football played at a very high standard.
A ‘man of the match’ award was presented by the family of Archie Gooch, former chairman of Bristol City, which went to Daniel Bruce of England. England have now won one and drawn one in the Centenary Shield, so there is still all to play for against Northern Ireland in Belfast next week and against Scotland at Blackburn Rovers the following week.
- 30th :: Centenary Shield: England 3 Republic of Ireland 3