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ENGLAND V WALES AT ST GEORGES PARK

ENGLAND OVER 50’S SHADOW SQUAD 2 – WALES SHADOW SQUAD 0
     
A brace from Herne Bay’s Neil Davey and a compact defensive performance ensured a hard worked 2-0 win for England’s second string. Davey’s first came from an excellent one two with Boston’s Dave Scotney and his second was an unstoppable shot from a Pete Henry free kick. Whilst England created plenty of chances they were denied by some excellent goalkeeping, Scotney went close twice and Blue Flames Neil Carr was causing numerous problems with his assured movement and creative link play. Rob Pass and Paul Derbyshire were their commanding best at the back and on the odd occasion that Wales threatened Debutant Peter Gibbons (Hartshill) looked comfortable.
In a 35 minute each way game the players were finding it tough and as the work rate needed to break down the stubborn Welsh team took its toll. Regular rolling substitutions took place but Leeds Titans Nick Morris putting in a mammoth shift as he was only substituted with a few minutes left when the game was safe.
After the game Assistant Manager David Castle commented,
“Another thoroughly professional performance from the lads today, the movement and interchange play was impressive and we look so solid at the back, Rob and Paul look better each game we play. Whilst I was pleased with everyone’s contribution, I’ve got to single out Neil Davey, you cannot give him space, the shot for his second goal went like a missile, I actually heard gasps in the crowd!”
ENGLAND OVER 60’S SHADOW SQUAD 3 – WALES SHADOW SQUAD 1
       
Two very competitive matches took place at the superb St Georges Park on 3rd March against our rivals from across the border.  Wales have improved significantly since our first meeting in September and we knew that this would be our sternest challenge, to date.
In the Shadow Squad game, England started strongly and had 4 chances early on with two good efforts from Roy Gladwell and John Cooper respectively, with the Welsh keeper making some fine saves.  Kevin Schmid, in goal was forced to make a smart save before Tony Jones brought another good save from the Welsh keeper.  Against the run of play, Wales took the lead with a deflected shot that beat Schmid, but within minutes England had equalised when Gladwell set up Tony Jones who finished with a smart shot.  James Trant had a goal disallowed when play was brought back for an infringement and then England took the lead with the goal of the day – from a square pass Roy Gladwell hit a stunning shot – top bins – the keeper did not even see it!!  The Welsh keeper then pushed another Gladwell goal-bound shot onto the post.  Half time.
Early in the second half, Wales had a few good efforts and Ross Everton, in goal, had to make 3 excellent saves.  John Cooper had a goal disallowed when adjudged him to have used his arm to control the ball before volleying home.  Gladwell settled the nerves, following a fantastic move of one-touch football involving Jimmy Laidlaw, James Trant and Tom Moran, to complete the scoring.  Final score England 3-  Wales 1.  A much closer game than the first encounter in September.
MOM England – Roy Gladwell, who was a constant threat
MOM Wales – John Llewellyn Pritchard-  who made a string of excellent saves.
ENGLAND OVER 60’S FIRST TEAM  5 – WALES FIRST TEAM  3
       
In the A Team match, within 20 seconds, Alan Davies had a great shot on the turn which went just wide.  Spencer Pratten forced a good save from the keeper and then the keeper made a stunning double save from Davies and Pratten.  Following a free kick, Davies opened the scoring with a great finish low into the corner.  A great move involving Graham Curry, Peter Stacey and Spencer Pratten lead to Davies hitting the post with the keeper beaten.  Graham Curry made a rare forward run and scored his first England goal with a clever drop of the shoulder and a feint which drew the keeper whom he calmly rounded and then finished.  Steve Borrow, making his debut, made the 3rd with a great turn and pass to set up Peter Stacey, who also rounded the keeper to finish from a tight angle.  Wales came to life at the end of the half forcing John Sykes to make an excellent save, but they got their reward when England lost the ball in midfield and then fell asleep, leaving Wales 2 against 1 and some good passing led to a smart finish – 3-1 at half time.
England keeper, John Hammonds was forced into action early in the second half.  A lovely move was finished when Graham Collier set up Davies to fire home and make the score 4-1.  He nearly completed his hat-trick with a smart turn and shot which was well saved.  Peter Stacey had a great shot which hit the post but Davies was there to score his third and make the score 5-1.  At times, England kept the ball for long periods of time and were totally dominant and it was clear that Wales were tiring.  However, Wales had the last laugh – a combination of their tenacity and England’s lack of concentration led to Wales scoring 2 late goals – twice they were 2 against 1 and on both occasions they finished well – this made the score more respectable than it should have been.
At times, England played some excellent Walking Football – they kept the ball for long periods of time and created many chances.  However, Wales hung on in there, never gave up and scored goals at the end of each half to make the final score 5-3.
England MOM – Graham Curry – calm and composed at the back and scored an excellent goal
Wales MOM – their captain – Leslie Thomas
ENGLAND FIRST TEAM OVER 50’S 7 – WALES FIRST TEAM  1 
             
England Over 50’s had an emphatic victory at St Georges Park as they continued their unbeaten run. From early on England had dominated play and prodded several good opportunities and twice rattled the post and bar before a rebound of the keeper was volleyed home by Paul Walton. Though possession continued heavily in England’s favour half time approached and the lead had not increased, a fine save from Rob Keating kept the score at 1-0.
As the second half started there seemed more purpose about England’s play. A smart passing move set up Birmingham’s Mike Milligan who fired home on his debut. Skipper Neil Brown then finished off another fine move to tuck his shot in the corner. Milligan then scored his second and Ian Ward from Pele’s Pearls guided home an inch perfect Browne pass. Four goals in 6 minutes after the restart had totally finished the game as a competition. Some unusually slack defending the let the Wales team open their account with a smart finish in the top corner. England picked up their game once again and with 20 minutes still left to play Leggy Mambo’s Neil Evans completed a brace within 3 minutes to take the score to 7-1. The last 15 minutes played out with England keeping possession for large parts of play. It was difficult to single out performances in this game, England were slick and the quality of their passing and link up play was at times sublime. The more they play together the more their confidence and game improves. On this performance they are going to be difficult to beat and if they stay focussed they can go to Milan next month with a high expectation of a positive result against Italy.
Manager Paul Murtagh said,
“A thoroughly professional and disciplined performance, we moved the ball really well, built pressure in and around the Welsh defense, creating numerous chances throughout the game.  Some well taken goals against a much-improved Welsh team that was busy and solid throughout.  We will enjoy the result initially, but I feel we can still tidy up certain areas of our game.  We have to keep improving and maintain momentum leading up to the Euros.”
A big thank you to Judith Langworthy and Zoe Murtagh for the photos.

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