Final day defeats for England Boys

ENGLAND Under-18 Boys lost out 4-2 to hosts Spain in their final match of the Easter Four Nations Tournament in Valencia on Easter Monday.

The Spanish scored three goals in the first half, and this proved to be the backbone of their victory. Although England battled back with some strong periods and out-scored their hosts in the second period, it was not enough to avoid a defeat which leaves them fourth in the tournament.

“It was disappointing to finish fourth,” said Manager Martin Langston. “The team’s effort, energy and commitment were outstanding but we need to learn a few more lessons tactically to make the step up that we will need to as we move forward to the Europeans this summer.”

Spain took the lead after 18 minutes through Guillermo Puente Vieco. The ball was played into the circle and only half cleared, while Vieco was on hand to latch on to the loose ball and score under goalkeeper Peter Phillips.

They doubled their lead three minutes later when, from their first penalty corner, the same player fired in. Phillips got his body in the way of the goal, but the deflection trickled into the net.

Five minutes before the break Spain added a third goal, Xavier Gonzalez Elola flicking high and right from a penalty corner.

England hit back in the 34th minute, when Matthew Richards smashed the ball home into the bottom left corner after the initial shot had been blocked but rebounded out into his path.

Spain continued their pressure with a 56th minute penalty corner from Elola again, who flicked high and right.

James Gall netted England’s second on 62 minutes after being fed well by James Albery. Gall moved out to make space, and hit a back space shot into the top of the goal.

England had further chances to close the gap, including a Jonny Ruiz deflection which hit the post, but the score remained unchanged.

* Despite scoring the first and last goals of the game, England Under-16 Boys went down 2-7 to the Netherlands in the third/fourth place play-off match in the Easter Four Nations Tournament in Valencia on Easter Monday.

After playing well for long periods against Germany earlier in the competition, England were left disappointed after failing to beat the Dutch.

“This group of players have shown that they can compete,” said Head Coach Charlie Bannister. “But they need to start improving their concentration levels if they are to truly compete at international level.”

Jack Turner fired in a shot on goal after ten minutes, and it deflected in off a Dutch stick for an own goal which gave England the lead.

However, their lead lasted little more than a minute, and Jair Van Der Horst levelled with a field goal for the Netherlands.

Alex Laarman scored from open play on 25 minutes to give the Dutch the lead, and Bart Kronenberg scored from a penalty corner five minutes before half time to give his side a 3-1 lead at the break.

Kronenberg completed a hat-trick with further goals from penalty corners on 45 and 53 minutes, but the Netherlands didn’t ease off.

Tijn Stuve added a sixth goal on 64 minutes, again from a penalty corner. And Camil Papa added the final Dutch goal on 65 minutes when he drilled it home from the right hand side.

Jack Turner scored for England on 67 minutes when it was returned to him as the injector at a penalty corner, but it was too little too late for England.