Under-18 Boys battle to draw in Spain


England Under-18 Boys came from behind to earn a draw in the heat against hosts Spain in the Easter Four Nations Tournament in Valencia on Easter Saturday.

The first half was a tight affair with much battling in the middle of the pitch and few chances created for either side.

The Spanish forwards were a threat individually and found themselves in one-on-one situations on several occasions.

It was one of these chances that led to the goal just after the half hour as a Spain forward eliminated two England defenders before reaching the baseline and knocking the ball across the face of goal for Enrique Herrera to tap into an empty net.

Spain threatened again just two minutes into the second half as a deflected cross bounced up and hit the England crossbar.

But England levelled on 43 minutes as James Alberry sent over a cross from the right touchline and James Gall dived in front of his marker to get his stick to the ball and clip a shot into the roof of the goal.

The last ten minutes saw four cards brandished and Spain were down to nine players at one point. But England couldn’t make the advantage work in their favour and the game ended 1-1.

Jon Bleby, head coach, said: “It was a tremendous effort from the team in very hot conditions against the host nation.

“They showed great character to come back from 0-1 down at half time and it was a very strong tactical performance.

“In looking forward, we need to be more ruthless in attacking circle entries. We are optimistic about the game with Germany tomorrow which is sure to be a decisive battle.”

England must beat Germany to qualify for the final.

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