Despite losing their opening game against Lebanon, come kick off England were still in with a chance of winning Copa Lagos 2015 as long as they could secure victory over host nation Nigeria, given Ivory Coast has just beaten Lebanon 5-4.
In 2011, the Sand Eagles proved too strong beating England 5-2 having raced into a 5-0 lead. This time they raced into a bigger lead and were 7-1 up at the end of Period 2.
But as has often been a trait of the England side in recent years, a fight back soon ensued. Goals within just over a minute of the start of Period 3 by Bowes, a long range effort into the top corner and a tap in by Day seemed to galvanise everyone.
Mark Corbett scored his first goal of the tournament with just under 4 minutes remaining to make it 7-4. Nigeria restored their 4 goal advantage a minute later at 8-4 before two goals within 18 seconds from Day and Bowes made the score 8-6 with still more than two minutes on the clock, which we all know can be a very long time in Beach Soccer.
England pressed and pressed and were awarded a free kick when Clarke was fouled just outside the 9 metre line. However, his shot just went wide of the left hand post leaving the Nigerian’s to run the clock down and secure an 8-6 victory.
Everyone will be frustrated and perhaps confused by how you can lose Period 2 by 5-1 but then win Period 3 by the same score. The positive needs to be that this is the youngest ever squad that England has travelled with and that they are gaining invaluable experience of how different an international beach soccer match is, especially in the heat of Nigeria and within a cauldron of a stadium.
Today’s game against Ivory Coast kicks off at 14:15 UK time. Possibly coverage may be found by searching for Supersport9’s live stream.
0-1: Abu (P1 -1min)
0-2: Emmanuel (P1-4min)
1-2: Clarke (P2-1min)
1-3: Abu (P2-2min)
1-4: Emeka (P2-4min)
1-5: Ifeyani (P2-9min)
1-6: Ogodo (P2-11min)
1-7: Emmanuel (P2-11min)
2-7: Bowes (P3-1min)
3-7: Day (P3-2min)
4-7: Corbett (P3-8min)
4-8: Ifeyani (P3-10min)
5-8: Day (P3-10min)
6-8: Bowes (P3-10min)