Netherlands edge out England U18 Boys

AFTER matching their rivals for much of the first half, England Under-18 Boys were just edged out by the Netherlands in their opening match of the Eastern Four Nations Tournament in Spain on Good Friday.

The match started very well for England who probed down both flanks, and an early penalty corner induced a good save from the Dutch goalkeeper.

But as the half progressed very few chances were created by either team, with good defending on both sides negating all threats.

In the second half, as the game opened up, the Dutch threatened on the counter attack and they got ahead in the 47th minute when their forward eliminated the English left half and created an overload in the circle. Their spare player appeared in front of goal to slip the ball past the advancing England goalkeeper.

Five minutes later the Dutch extended the lead. England’s defence had done well to force the Dutch player Dylan Vermeij away from goal, but good individual skills saw him eliminate two defenders and he hit the ball low inside the far post with a back hand shot.

England raised their games and scored a goal in reply on 61 minutes. Jonty Griffiths penetrated the circle on the right hand side and got the ball across the front of goal for a diving James Gall to score with a touch in front of the Dutch keeper.

England pushed hard in the dying minutes to get an equaliser and say a chance fly over the bar in the last minute.

Coach Jon Bleby said: “I’m pleased with the team in terms of effort and attitude. It was a real battle but the attention to detail in the attacking and defending circles made the difference and we will aim to improve our details tomorrow against Spain.”

* Click here for more details of England Under-18 Boys' performances in the Easter Four Nations Tournament.