England faced Ireland in a relegation pool clash this afternoon. The first pool stage was a disaster for the English, and the Irish will have been disappointed to join them there too.
The early exchanges were in England’s favour and they capitalised on this in the 11th minute, a goal for Zack Wallace. The build up was far better than England’s earlier work in the tournament. Ashley Jackson carried the ball from the half way line toward the 25 before feeding in Sam Ward. Ward drove the base line and crossed to the penalty spot where Wallace struck first time into the far inside post.
England had a second a minute later from Phil Roper. A broken down corner fell to Jackson outside the circle who played it goalward for Roper to deflect in.
In the 18th minute Ireland’s Michael Robson was through on goal but George Pinner met him at the top of the circle and channeled the shot wide.
However in the 21st minute Robson was not to be denied, Pinner again left exposed by the defence and had to charge. Robson found the right post unguarded and slotted home.
The second half was a cagey affair with both teams creating chances but it became clear that Sam Ward was in for special attention. Conor Harte eventually the recepient of a straight yellow card for a push.
With Ireland down to ten men for the last four minutes Ireland pulled their keeper to try and get the equaliser. It nearly worked as Brendan Creed took too long to take a 16 and it was over turned straight into a corner for Ireland. It wasn’t to be though for Ireland and England take control of the relegation pool.
The English looked far more their usual selves today and coped well with the very aggressive defending. It is a shame this England was not present in the earlier games but it is encouraging. For Ireland they need a win over Wales now to be in the mix for survival. England mean while face Scotland who beat Wales 4-2 earlier in the day.