Winning start for England U21s in Malaysia

Eng U21s

England U21 3 (2)
Nick Page 18 (FG)
Will Calnan 24 (PC)
Chris Proctor 60 (FG)

Malaysia U21 1 (1)
Mohamed Anuar 23 (FG)

Jon Bleby’s England U21 Men got their campaign off to a winning start in the Sultan of Johor Cup against hosts Malaysia. In the tournament that Great Britain won last time out, England led the home side at the break thanks to goals from Nick Page and Will Calnan. With Malaysia hunting for a way back into the game, Chris Proctor made the three points safe with a strike ten minutes from time to make it 3-1.

The game started out fairly even with both sides showing plenty of pace and endeavour on the attack. The first goal went the way of England. Peter Scott fed the ball out wide to Page who cut into the circle before blasting a backhand into the roof of the net.  

Six minutes later, to the delight of a raucous home crowd Malaysia levelled the scores. Chris Wyver made a good save from a corner but the ball was worked back out wide to Najib Hassan whose cross was diverted in by Anuar to make it 1-1.

Parity lasted just a minute as Calnan beat the goalkeeper Ridzwan Azmi with a drag flick to make it 2-1.

The second half was notable as there was no let up in the pace of the contest. Both side threw men forwards in search of the next goal. Calnan’s penalty corner was somehow turned over the bar by the defender on the line and then Muhammad Zaidi; whose pace was a constant threat brought a fine block out of Wyver. Duncan Scott went close after winning the ball high up the field but his shot flashed wide of the far post.

With ten minutes to go the match was put beyond reach as proctor pounced on a loose ball to slam home. There was still time for Tom Sorsby to pull off a magnificent goal line clearance from a penalty corner but despite that alarm, England’s defence saw the game out.

A delighted Bleby told Malaysian TV afterwards:

“Our target was to score field goals which is obviously very difficult. We’re delighted to have achieved that. Our corner conversion is something we will look at but overall we’re very happy.”  

“Pakistan is our next match they are a great side with a lot of talent. Very exciting and very quick but we’re really looking forward to the game.”

England’s next match is against Pakistan, 01/11/2016 at 10am. Watch live here: