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England International 2015

Our 3rd game of the day at Goodison Park was the 1st ever England International we’d hosted at the famous old stadium and the passion and pride of the players was on show right from the start. They belted out the National Anthem with pride at the beginning and maintained that level of commitment throughout the 90mins, and it was only in the final 15mins that the result was decided. In the end the impressive Home team ran out 3-0 winners, however the Away team gave them a fantastic game throughout and both teams could be justifiably proud of their efforts.  

Date: Saturday 30th May 2015
Venue: Goodison Park
England (Home) vs England (Away)
Kick Off: 18:00 pm
Match Officials: Alan Butler, James Service & Matthew Thomson

The England Home team kicked the match off wearing the official all White International kit and playing from left to right and the started brightly as well, attacking down the right and creating an early chance for their No 9 Paul Short. It was fellow strike partner Dave Taylor who created the opening, attacking down the right and cutting the ball back into the box, Paul Roberts played the ball to Short, the big striker attempted to dink the ball over the outrushing keeper Sam Godsall, however the Away team’s No 1 spread himself well and bravely blocked the ball with his face away to safety!

The Home team continued to press forward and Paul Short had another opportunity mins later, however he couldn’t get his attempted spinning back heel flick on target. The Goodison Park pitch was drier than usual, and the players were using it to their advantage and playing the ball about swiftly and the play raged from end to end. However with both defences having plenty of experience in their ranks, they were being marshalled perfectly and chances were at a premium.

The Away team did fashion a chance after good link up play between Jon Dixon and Edward Smith on the edge of the area, however Smith’s shot was collected comfortably at chest height by Home keeper Garry Riley. The Home team responded and after a skilful turn and pass from Paul Short, the impressive looking Gareth Davies drove towards the Away defence, he exchanged a clever one two with Paul Roberts and powered his way into the left side of the area, however his low left foot shot was brilliantly saved by the feet of Sam Godsall.

At the other end the Away strike force of Mark Clyne and Terry Jones each had a half chance presented to them, however neither striker could get a clean effort away on goal. Back came the Home team and when the ball bounced up for Paul Short 15 yards from goal the No 9 did well to swivel and get a right foot volley on target, however the impressive Godsall was again the perfect position to collect his shot with ease. 

At the other end Away fullback Lee Shilton tried his luck with a shot on the volley from 25 yards, however his well struck effort was collected comfortably by Garry Riley. With seconds to go until halftime Dave Taylor tried to break the deadlock with a strike from the edge of the area, however his powerful shot whistled just over the crossbar.

The referee’s whistle blew immediately afterwards with the score remaining 0-0, despite the lack of goals it had been an entertaining half with chances at both ends of the pitch. However the well drilled defences were winning the battle with the strikers and it looked a distinct possibility that we might even get our 1st goalless game of the season!   

Half Time: England (Home) 0 - 0 England (Away)

The team in Red and White kicked off the 2nd half determined to break the deadlock and Jon Dixon showed their intent straight from kick-off, trying to catch out the Home defence with an attempt from the halfway line. However his shot didn’t trouble goalkeeper Riley and the Home team broke down the field and when Paul Short clipped a dangerous cross to the back post Robert Green was in the perfect position to fire a volley goalwards, he struck it perfectly however much to the relief of the Away team his effort was just too high and it crashed off the crossbar and away to safety. 

The Home team were gradually getting on top now and when Paul Short picked out Dave Taylor with a fantastic cross-field pass the No 11 raced clear of the defence and just got to the ball ahead of goalkeeper Godsall, however his attempted lob 30 yards from goal narrowly missed the far post. Home No 6 Gareth Davies was causing the Away team no end of problems and when he collected the ball in midfield and exchanged a one-two with Dave Taylor he was able to sprint clear of the defence and drive into the left side of the box. However he was denied again by another smart stop from Sam Godsall at the near post.

The same player tried his luck from 25 yards after another mazy run, however his rising effort was just too high and it cleared the cross-bar. Back came the Away team and Jon Dixon had an opportunity 20 yards out, however the elegant midfielder couldn’t get his effort on target and it narrowly missed the right hand post. However the Home team continued to press and when Davies played Taylor in on the right side of the box the striker fired an effort which Godsall did well to save, the ball fell to Taylor again and he squared it to Paul Short and when the striker fired his effort goalwards it looked odds on to burst the net, however goalkeeper Sam Godsall flung himself to his left and somehow managed to keep the ball out with his left hand. What an incredible reaction save from point blank range!

The pressure was building on the Away team though and Godsall had to look sharp to cutout a cross from Dean Twyman after the right mid was set free on the right hand side by the impressive centre back Richard Leeson. At the other end good build up play involving Dixon, Atkin and Mike Burke created a half chance for Jones on the edge of the area, however he was instantly closed down by a flying tackle from the ever committed Adrian Alcock.

The Home team attacked down the right again and Twyman swung in another dangerous looking cross which looked like it would sneak under the bar, however the Away keeper Godsall did brilliantly again to reach up and tip the ball over for a corner. The goal was coming though and with 73mins on the clock the Home team finally broke the deadlock. The skillful strike force of Dave Taylor and Paul Short had looked dangerous throughout the game and it was no surprise it was their combination that opened up the Away defence. Taylor picked up the ball wide on the right, after fullback Kevin Banks had found him with a header and the No 11 spotted Paul Short making a great run beyond the defence. He found him with a delightful lobbed pass and the big No 9 chested the ball down and strode into the box before smashing a low volley past the despairing dive of Godsall (1-0).   

The Home team were buoyed by their opener and Dave Taylor broke away again on the right, however his cross was blocked by the ever dependable Bob Thorpe, whose experienced defending had played a huge part in keeping his side in the game. Gareth Davies was continuing to be a driving force in the middle of the pitch for this team and he almost caught out Godsall with an audacious lob from 30 yards after he intercepted a clearance from the keeper, however the ball cannoned off the cross-bar and away to safety.

After being put under so much pressure the Away defence were understandably unstarting to tire and when James Barnsdall intercepted the ball and played a defence splitting pass for Dean Twyman to run onto the No 7 looked as if he was going to wrap up the game, however he dragged his right foot finish just beyond the far post. At the other end Jon Dixon was doing everything he could to get his side back in the game, however his effort from the edge of the area was well blocked by the Home defence. The ball broke to the Home No 10 Steven Bilton and he slid an inch perfect pass to Dean Twyman, who was racing clear on the right side again. This time the No 7 made no mistake, smashing the ball past the diving Godsall into the centre of the goal (2-0).

The Home team’s 2nd goal came with 84mins on the clock and within 2mins they’d increased their advantage again. James Barnsdall picked up the ball on the left side and played a ball towards Paul Short, the striker cleverly dummied the pass and Dave Taylor picked up the ball and drove at the defence, he went inside one defender and outside another, before steering a right foot finish into the bottom right corner of the net (3-0).

After putting so much effort into the game, the Away team looked despondent after seeing their hopes destroyed in a blistering 10min spell from the Home team. But they summoned one final effort to try to get a consolation for all their efforts, but it wasn’t to be and the referee’s whistle brought the game to an end soon afterwards.

In the end the Home team’s extra attacking prowess was just enough for them to gain a narrow 3-0 win, however both defences had performed brilliantly throughout and the Away team deserved a huge amount of credit for staying in the game so long. It was a great end to an enjoyable 3 game matchday at Goodison Park and it was fitting that the players received a prolonged and noisy round of applause when they left the field of play.   

Full Time: England (Home) 3 - 0 England (Away)

Man of the Match (Home): Gareth Davies
Man of the Match (Away): Sam Godsall
Moment of the Match: Paul Short

Home Team: Garry Riley, Nick Poling, James Barnsdall, Richard Leeson, Adrian Alcock, Gareth Davies, Dean Twyman, Paul Roberts, Paul Short, Steven Bilton, Dave Taylor (C), Kevin Banks, Robert Green
Home Mascot: Jacob Roberts

Away Team: Sam Godsall, Lee Shilton, Mike Burke, Liam Worthington, Robert Thorpe, Jon Dixon (C), David Murray, Edward Smith, Terry Jones, Graham Atkin, Mark Clyne, Andrew McGrory, Robbie Hammond
Away Mascot: Morgan Shilton