Thursday, 19 May 2011

England C 0 v Portugal U23 1 - International Challenge Trophy Final

Thursday 19th May 2011 at Sixfields Stadium, Northampton
International Challenge Trophy Final

England C (0) 0
Portugal U23 (0) 1 (Johan Tavares 63)

Admission £5, Programme £1, Attendance 1517
England manager Paul Fairclough running away from a cut
throat gang of flag brandishing young England fans

England C: 1. Preston Edwards, 2. Lee Vaughan, 3. Connor Franklin (12. Matthew Blair, 65), 4. Robert Atkinson, 5 Max Porter (c), 6. Michael Wilde (15. Josh Coulson, 73), 7. Andy Mangan, 8. Danny Rose (16. Jack Byrne, 81) 9. George Donnelly, 10. Josh Simpson (14. Reece Styche, 71), 11. Sean Clancy.
Sub not used: 13. Jonathan Hedge.
Portugal U23: 1. Hugo Ventura, 2. Joao Gongalves, 3. Daniel Carrico (c), 4. Johan Tavares, 5. Tiago Pinto (14. Andre Marques, 84), 6. Nuno Coelho, 7. Yannick Djalo (16. Fernando Rui Sampaio, 90), 8. Andre Castro Periera (18. Yazalde Pinto, 75), 9. Carlos Saleiro (15. Vitor Gomes Silva, 75), 10. Andre Santos, 11.Lewis Fernandes (17. Daniel Candeias, 84).

Ebbsfleet's keeper Preston Edwards had a steady enough game for his country tonight, which was good to see, because he hasn't always been in the news for the right reasons this season.

I was actually going to stay in tonight and watch the back episodes of 'Come Dine With Me' I've recorded on Sky Plus (I'm loaded, very well off and can comfortably afford such luxuries these days y'know) and get an early night, so I'd be properly refreshed tomorrow morning when I tackle my recently acquired new job, with a smile on my face.
But my favourite lady texted this afternoon to say 'IF YOU FANCY THE ENGLAND GAME IN NORTHAMPTON TONIGHT I'M GOOD COMPANY'
Well, she'd only talk through the dining programmes I've recorded, so I figured I could kill two birds with one stone ... and tackle the backlogged viewing marathon some other time in between my final game of the season (either England v Switzerland at Wembley on June 4th or England U21 v Norway at Southampton on June 5th) and the 2011-12 pre season games at the beginning of July.
An injury depleted England squad was also a bit thin on the ground as regards cover because of the Luton Town v AFC Wimbledon play off final at Eastlands in two days time ... I'd have gone to that game but the ticket price of £41.50 to watch two Conference sides as a neutral was off putting to say the least, I'm sure quite a few fans of the two teams competing for promotion will be watching it ex gratis on line instead of shelling out silly money too ... Portugal's U23 side was at full strength, so by rights they ought to have given England C a bit of a run around tonight.
At times they threatened to, but though there were obvious signs of the gulf in class at times, the Portugese never really took the game by the scruff of its neck or exerted their superiority very often.
Most of England's threat came from set pieces in the final third around the box, but there weren't too many of them if truth be told.
There were far too many moments that had obviously worked on the training ground, but just looked sloppy and unrehearsed on the night, in a real match situation.
Yes folks, it was a crap game!
Two second half incidents finally settled where the International Challenge Trophy was heading this year.
On 63 minutes Luis Fernandes rattled the woodwork with a free kick and Johan Tavares gratefully tucked home the rebound to put Portugal in front.
Then deep into injury time, Robert Atkinson surged through the visitors back-line to set up the perfect chance for Fleetwood Town's George Donnelly to hit a last gasp equaliser, but with the keeper Hugo Ventura beaten all ends up the ball rolled agonisingly wide, denying England C the chance to go from strength to strength in extra time, or sparing us another 30 minutes of dull football, depending on whether you are an optimist or a realist.
Either way, I wanted to get home and Portugal deserved to win more then England deserved a late goal ;-)
It didn't seem to take half as long to get back to chez 66pow as it did to get to Cobblersland.
Possibly this was because some stretches of the northbound M1 were empty (they certainly weren't on the way down), but it might have had something to do with me getting my foot down while my certifiable sidekick entertained me all the way back, by serenading this 'sweet talking guy' with Chiffons songs ... help!
We had a great night, even though the game was a bit lacklustre.
Supper's on the go right now and I'm going to be knackered by the time I get to work tomorrow if I sit here bloggering about all night. TTFN.
Que sera, life is for living n' all that.