In September 2018, England travelled to the Jenner Stadium, home of Barry Town to play Wales. It was another historic day as it was the first international match for Wales and the first away game for England. Another first was the fact that the Shadow Squads of both countries at both ages played an official ‘B’ Team match.
50’s Shadow Squad.
In only the second minute England 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 energy 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.”
50’s A squad. Wales 0 England 3
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.” – Paul Murtagh
Wales V England – Over 60 Match Report
A wonderful day for Walking Football. England came out on top in all 4 games, yes, but the real winner was the sport. The Wales management team performed a minor miracle in getting together 2 teams at both 50 and 60 despite the issues faced over the past few months and they should be congratulated on selecting teams that were competitive and a credit to their country.
In the Over 60 Shadow Squad game, England got off to the perfect start with Tom Moran marauding forward from centre half and firing into the corner within the first few minutes. John Cooper then doubled the lead with a quickly taken free kick. England were dominant at this stage but then a few lapses of discipline meant that the enforced changes affected the shape and Wales grew in confidence and John Hammonds had to make 2 smart saves. Early in the second half Tony Jones found Derek Thorpe who hit a lovely first time shot to make it 3. England relaxed and played some lovely football and scored the 4th when Jimmy Laidlaw squared to John Cooper to get his 2nd. Ross Everton in goal for the second half was untroubled = where-as the Welsh Keeper made fine saves from Roy Gladwell and Cooper
MOM John Cooper
The 1st Team match – Wales 1 England 2
This was much closer in terms of score-line, although England did dominate in terms of possession and chances. The Welsh keeper was awarded man of the match – well deserved as he made a string of fine saves.
Alan Davies opened the scoring – following a slick move started by Vic Vaines who fed Spencer Pratten who, in turn, fed Davies to fire in with his left foot. Towards the end of the first half the fluency – changes were made including Alan Kennedy making his first appearance some 40 years after playing his last game for England – but Wales grew in confidence and equalised just before half time when a penalty was awarded against Kevin Schmid for stepping out of his goal area. At this point Wales were on top.
In the second half England were sent out, following a frank half-time talk, and played as well as they did in the first 15 minutes. Graham Collier was linking well and he set up Spencer Pratten to put England back in front. He could have scored a second but for another fine save by the Welsh keeper. Wales pushed players forward as they looked for the equaliser. Graham Curry defended well and John Sykes was called on to make a few saves. England held on for a well-deserved but narrow win and it would be fair to say that Wales pushed them all the way