It was a frustrating start to the tournament for England on the opening day of Copa Lagos 2015.
Before the game Priestley Farquharson reported ill and so England had to start the game one player down.
However, they got off to great start when Aaron Clarke and Mitch Day linked up well with Day firing England one up within the first minute, taking his tally to 16 goals this season. England then continued to dominate and control the opening period creating a hat full of chances including a number of overhead bicycle attempts from around the 9m line. The only decent chance that Lebanon created brought out a fantastic save from Taylor Humm.
Lebanon equalized in the first minute of the second period but England had two great chances to regain the lead. Day blasted his penalty wide of the target and Corbett saw his free kick from close range saved by the keeper. Lebanon took the lead from open play and went further ahead when they were awarded a free kick that was slammed home by their number 8, Merhi.
Mark Mitchell, who had been ill since the opening period, was now struggling to take to the sand. This made England’s task of clawing back the deficit in the final period an uphill one. Fatigue was setting in given the heat and the need to keep players on the sand longer than ideal.
A tired England matched Lebanon until just over two minutes were remaining when Merhi scored his fourth goal of the game to make it 4-1. Aaron Clarke immediately replied from the kick off but that was the end of the scoring.
Two positives from the match were that both debutants, Cameron O’Rourke and Tommy Jackson got a decent amount of sand time and played with plenty of promise for the future.
1-0-1: Day (P1-1min)
1-1: Mehri (P2-1min)
1-2: Mehri (P2-4min)
1-3: Mehri (P2-10min)
1-4: Mehri (P3-10min)
2-4: Clarke (P3-10min)