England U18 Girls training against Belgium

England U18 Girls in Antwerp July 2014

England U18 Girls travelled to Antwerp with the U16s for a series of training matches against Belgium.

Match 1

England 3 (1)
Megan Crowson 6 70 (PC PC)
Charlotte Daly 52 (PC)

Belgium 1 (1)

England started the game having to soak up a lot of pressure set on them from the Belgium team in the first 10 minutes of the game. After overcoming this period England created some good attacks and their pressure paid off by winning a penalty corner, which Megan Crowson converted well past the Belgium goalkeeper.

The second half saw England continue to press well, taking advantage when Belgium went a player down to be awarded another penalty corner which Charlotte Daly slipped home with a reverse stick flick in front of the keeper.

England maintained this lead and created some good attacking play while denying Belgium possession, but they were unable to increase their 2-1 lead until the 70th minute when a further penalty corner was awarded which allowed Meg Crowson to score her second goal from a drag flick.

Match 2

England 2 (1)
Emily Kilner 24 (FG)
Nick Moss 57 (FG)

Belgium 0 (0)

England's first goal came from a well constructed right side attack down to the baseline, delivered well across the face of the goal to find Emily Kilner on the left hand post. Over the course of the first half England won four penalty corners, but found themselves unable to convert and the score remained 1-0 at the break.

During the second half England pressed well and won the ball frequently to provide good counter attacks, resulting in being awarded a penalty corner after 57 minutes to see a well constructed move saved by the Belgian keeper, but England regained possession from the keeper's save and Lydia Macdonnell was able to enter the right side base line again and after a scramble in the circle in front of the goalkeeper the ball finally fell to Nick Moss, again on the left post. Fran Taylor in the England goal made some very good saves to keep England ahead throughout the game, and England finished up two goals up with no replay from Belgium.

Speaking after the game, England U18 Girls Head Coach Andy Bradshaw said: "The girls rose well to the challenges of today’s game, overcoming a break in play due to severe weather conditions they remained focussed to the task in hand and it was really pleasing to see them score two goals from areas we have been working on in training".

Match 3

England 0 (0)

Belgium 1 (1)

England's last game of the series resulted in their first defeat, as a solitary Belgian goal in the first half proved to be enough to keep them in the lead. Belgium were constantly maintaining their pressure on the England side and, despite a great performance from England goalkeeper Fran Taylor in the first half, Belgium were able to get off a break away shot from the top of the circle to slip the ball into the net, sending them 1-0 at the break.

In the second half England seemed to come back, winning four penalty corners compared to none awarded in the first half, but Belgium were their equals in defense and kept out every goal opportunity that came their way, leaving the second half goalless.

Speaking after the match and the series, England U18 Girls Head Coach Andy Bradshaw said: "This game was a valuable learning experience for the girls. We still created chances but lacked composure in the circle and struggled under greater pressure and fatigue. Reflecting on how we will deal with these issues will be our main challenge moving forward to the 5 Nations."