Two very competitive matches took place at the superb St Georges Park on 3rd March against our rivals from across the border. Wales have improved significantly since our first meeting in September and we knew that this would be our sternest challenge, to date.
In the Shadow Squad game, England started strongly and had 4 chances early on with two good efforts from Roy Gladwell and John Cooper respectively, with the Welsh keeper making some fine saves. Kevin Schmid, in goal was forced to make a smart save before Tony Jones brought another good save from the Welsh keeper. Against the run of play, Wales took the lead with a deflected shot that beat Schmid, but within minutes England had equalised when Gladwell set up Tony Jones who finished with a smart shot. James Trant had a goal disallowed when play was brought back for an infringement and then England took the lead with the goal of the day – from a square pass Roy Gladwell hit a stunning shot – top bins – the keeper did not even see it!! The Welsh keeper then pushed another Gladwell goal-bound shot onto the post. Half time.
Early in the second half, Wales had a few good efforts and Ross Everton, in goal, had to make 3 excellent saves. John Cooper had a goal disallowed when adjudged him to have used his arm to control the ball before volleying home. Gladwell settled the nerves, following a fantastic move of one-touch football involving Jimmy Laidlaw, James Trant and Tom Moran, to complete the scoring. Final score England 3- Wales 1. A much closer game than the first encounter in September.
MOM England – Roy Gladwell, who was a constant threat
MOM Wales – John Llewellyn Pritchard – who made a string of excellent saves.
England 5 Wales 3 – In the A Team match, within 20 seconds, Alan Davies had a great shot on the turn which went just wide. Spencer Pratten forced a good save from the keeper and then the keeper made a stunning double save from Davies and Pratten. Following a free kick, Davies opened the scoring with a great finish low into the corner. A great move involving Graham Curry, Peter Stacey and Spencer Pratten lead to Davies hitting the post with the keeper beaten. Graham Curry made a rare forward run and scored his first England goal with a clever drop of the shoulder and a feint which drew the keeper whom he calmly rounded and then finished. Steve Borrow, making his debut, made the 3rd with a great turn and pass to set up Peter Stacey, who also rounded the keeper to finish from a tight angle. Wales came to life at the end of the half forcing John Sykes to make an excellent save, but they got their reward when England lost the ball in midfield and then fell asleep, leaving Wales 2 against 1 and some good passing led to a smart finish – 3-1 at half time.
England keeper, John Hammonds was forced into action early in the second half. A lovely move was finished when Graham Collier set up Davies to fire home and make the score 4-1. He nearly completed his hat-trick with a smart turn and shot which was well saved. Peter Stacey had a great shot which hit the post but Davies was there to score his third and make the score 5-1. At times, England kept the ball for long periods of time and were totally dominant and it was clear that Wales were tiring. However, Wales had the last laugh – a combination of their tenacity and England’s lack of concentration led to Wales scoring 2 late goals – twice they were 2 against 1 and on both occasions they finished well – this made the score more respectable than it should have been.
At times, England played some excellent Walking Football – they kept the ball for long periods of time and created many chances. However, Wales hung on in there, never gave up and scored goals at the end of each half to make the final score 5-3
England MOM – Graham Curry – calm and composed at the back and scored an excellent goal
Wales MOM – their captain – Leslie Thomas