ENGLAND 4 – 2 Estonia
The final day in Catania, saw England take on Estonia in a fight for third place. England finished 4th in last years Promotional Final, so 3rd place would mean an improvement from last year and a step closer to where they ultimately want to be. Division A.
The opening period was a quiet one, with both teams keeping possession and slowly building their attacks. Aaron Clarke linked up well with Temple, delivering a cross which Temple couldn’t convert. England looked strong both defensively and in attack, Lawson and O’Rourke battling well, but neither could get their shot off. The opening goal of the game came from Estonia, Day unfortunately tripped and Estonia latched on to the loose ball, powering it home to Humm’s right. England finished the period well, with Bowes looking particularly solid at the back, using his experience to break down the attack and relieving any pressure that came England’s way. (0-1)
The Lion’s came out roaring in the second period, showing excellent character, they produced a flurry of shots, keeping the Estonia keeper busy. Jackson produced a spectacular touch out wide to Clarke who linked up well with Day and Bowes, but still England couldn’t find the net. A rare shooting opportunity for Estonia, saw Jackson save well to his left. Collecting the ball, he found Temple, who played a one two with a O’Rourke and drilled the ball down to the keepers left, England were back on level terms. However, England got lucky from the resulting kick off as the shot, found the back of Jackson’s net but the sound of the hooter saved England and Estonia couldn’t convert from the second kick off. Day continued his form from the opening day, producing several bicycle kicks, one of which was saved, Clarke latched on to the rebound and was brought down by the on-rushing Estonia Keeper, who saw red for the challenge. Clarke slotted home the penalty and England, who dominated the period, went into the break with a 1 goal lead. (2-1)
Period 3 and England showed no signs of holding back, O’Rourke firing wide from the kick off. England’s press and defensive shape was to much to handle for the Estonia keeper who shot under pressure, with Lawson’s defensive header lobbing the keeper and England were now 2 goals to the good. The Lion’s looked comfortable in their lead, holding possession and still creating chances going forward. Day’s superior strength won him a free kick in a central area, his finish quite possibly goal of the game; he stepped up to rifle the ball into the top corner. Estonia managed to claw a goal back with a late free kick but England finished the latter stage of the period looking the most likely team to score next. O’Neill had two shots saved and Cam O’Rourke produced an outrageous nutmeg to end the game. (4-2).
Next up for England, is Jesolo for the World Cup qualifiers. This will take place from the 2nd of September to the 11th, with the Lions facing Portugal, Romania and Moldova.