England’s shadow squad were first to entertain their Celtic neighbours in what was their first competitive fixture having missed out on the inaugural weekend in Brighton against Italy.
In only the second minute they opened the scoring with a retaken penalty by Herne Bay’s Neil Davey. For long periods England dominated and a string of fine saves from Wales’s keeper and man of the match Gareth Richards kept a Nick Morris pile driver and attempts from Davey and Jefferson Simon from them doubling their lead. Peter Henry was creating numerous chances from midfield with great nervy and tenacity and on the stroke of half time a deflected shot from Paul Derbyshire saw the Leggy Mambo’s defender open his international account. The second half was much the same as Wales had no answer to the slick passing and movement of the well drilled England team. Two fine saves from Heath Underwood in the England goal kept out any threat and then twice Wales were penalised for overzealous challenges. The England side took full advantage with Leeds Titan’s Nick Morris finishing off a fine 5 man move and the impressive Dave Scotney converting another for a 4-0 lead. Captain Simon Sheppard rounded of the scoring with a superb long range effort finding the corner. After the game Coach David Castle commented,
“It was an excellent all round performance today, they lads gelled so well together, there is such a great attitude here with everyone working for each other. It’s great for these guys pressing for inclusion in the first team squad with I guess the Euros in June next year being the real target."
In the main event, England were unchanged following their impressive 2-0 victory over Italy in Brighton and started with two goals in the first 10 minutes, first a Paul Walton shot from a rebound opened the scoring and then Leggy Mambo’s teammate Neil Evans made it two nil. Darren Bradley was once again controlling the play from deep as he linked superbly with Captain Neil Brown and Dave Norton to supply chances for the forwards. Norton tested the keeper with a number of well hit shots which were well saved by keeper Ed Allan. The Wales team were struggling with the passing and movement and had trouble controlling the rampant English. Employing some rather aggressive tactics the game became a little disjointed as the referee struggled to keep a lid on proceedings. As the away side made several changes their flow was interrupted and Rob Keating was called on to make two excellent saves before half time. Leading two nil at half time Manager Paul Murtagh continued to use his rolling substitutes, Paul Kirby and Ian Ward coming in for some particularly rough treatment from the Welsh defenders. With seven minutes remaining Bradley fed Norton on the left and a smart turn and shot put the game beyond doubt. Ian Ward had an excellent opportunity to make it 4-0 but his shot struck the crossbar, the last few minutes were about England keeping possession and ensuring their winning run continued. Dave Norton was duly named man of the match and afterwards Paul Murtagh commented,
“I thought it was another assured performance from this ‘young’ team. We picked up from where we left off against Italy with a dominant display of possession walking football. Subsequently creating a number of good opportunities and scoring from 2 of them early on, really settled the team down. We tinkered a little bit with the team during the middle period which allowed Wales to come back into it momentarily as they employed a more physical and robust style to try to unsettle us. I still never really thought the result was ever in doubt and we finished as strongly as we’d started. Probably should have had more goals to show for our efforts but we gelled again nicely overall and look forward to our next opponents, whoever that maybe. Confidence is high in the camp with us yet to concede a goal so, whoever the next challenge is, we’re up for it.”