England U17’s recovered from conceding a first-minute penalty to beat 10-man Russia 2-1 at the Pirelli Stadium.
Second half goals from Chelsea’s Clinton Mola and Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood secured the victory for the Young Lions.
After the last generation of England U17’s lifted the World Cup last month, a new crop of youngsters took to the international stage at Burton’s Pirelli Stadium on Armistices Day.
Steve Cooper’s team of millennials took a minute’s silence before kick-off, to remember Britain’s war heroes ahead of Remembrance Sunday.
The Young Lions got off to the worst possible start after a first minute penalty was awarded to Russia. Romanian referee Catalin Gaman pointed to the spot when Ilia Vorotnikov was fouled by Ethan Laird after just ten seconds. Striker Maksim Kutovol dispatched the penalty, sending England ‘keeper Arthur Okonkwo the wrong way.
Moments later, Russia had a great opportunity to double their lead. But, Arsenal’s Okonkwo made a superb save to deny Kutovol his second, just four minutes in.
Dmitry Markitesov got sent off after 35 minutes when the Russian winger elbowed Derby County left back Louie Sibley to the floor. Markitesov and Sibley had been arguing throughout the match and referee Gaman warned the pair moments before the Spartak Moscow man saw red. Although, the England youngster seemed to go down far too easily, Markitesov showed his inexperience by lashing out.
Towards the end of the first half Reading’s Jack Nolan curled an effort just wide, while Mason Greenwood also lashed a 20-yard strike past Sergei Eshchenko’s far post.
At half time, Laird, who gave away the penalty and Spurs’ Luis Binks were replaced by Vontae Daley-Campbell and Max Broughton.
With Russia a man light, England were in the ascendancy from the off in the second half. Nolan volleyed just past the post early on, as England pilled the pressure on.
England’s hard work finally paid off when they equalised after 49 minutes. Mason Greenwood’s pullback was smashed home by Chelsea’s Clinton Mola from 12 yards out, into the corner of Eshchenko’s net.
Manchester United’s Greenwood then put Cooper’s side in front after 55 minutes. England’s number 10 jinxed his way through the Russia defence and smashed in from the edge of the box.
Cooper’s final change saw Manchester City striker Bobby Duncan replaced by West Brom youngster Rayhaan Tulloch, on 63 mins.
Down to 10 men and now behind, tempers were flaring in the Russia side. Vorotnikov got himself booked for consistent moaning at the referee. The Russian winger was immediately substituted to ironic cheers from the 1,888-strong crowd at the Pirelli Stadium.
Seemingly inspired by last month’s U17’s World Cup triumph, Burton locals turned out in force to see the new crop of England youngsters.
Sibley, who was involved in the incident that got Markitesov sent off, saw yellow for England after 68 minutes.
Captain and Liverpool youngster Curtis Jones then scored with a header, but his effort was ruled-out for offside.
With full time fast approaching, Russia had a late chance to equalise when Kutovoi took the ball off Okonkwo and substitute Edgar Sevikyan almost latched onto the rebound. The Russian players were desperate for a penalty, feeling the striker was brought down by the England ‘keeper, but the referee turned down their appeals.
England held on, to make it two wins out of two in the U17 tournament, backing up their 3-2 victory over Portugal at Chesterfield in midweek. The tournament concludes when the Young Lions face Germany at Rotherham United’s ASSEAL Stadium on Tuesday night.
England U17’s recover from conceding a first-minute penalty to beat 10-man Russia 2-1 at the Pirelli Stadium thanks to second half goals from #CFC’s Clinton Mola and #MUFC’s Mason Greenwood. #YoungLions pic.twitter.com/ageQgf7lgA
— Ben Lyons (@ben_lyons97) November 11, 2017
Football fans in the East Midlands will get another chance to see the stars of the future when St. George’s Park hosts the UEFA Euro U-17’s Championships next summer. Fixtures will be played at The National Football Centre, The Pirelli Stadium and Loughborough University between 4th and 20th May 2018.
After the game, I spoke to Burton Albion season ticket holder Martin Pennycook about the experience of seeing an England team play at the Brewers’ Pirelli Stadium. He said,
‘There looks to be some good talent on show. A few of these young lads have definitely got a chance of making it, especially Greenwood and Nolan.’
England: 13 Arthur Okwonko (Arsenal); 3 Louie Sibley (Derby County), 6 Luis Binks (Tottenham Hotspur), Tareq Shihab (Brighton & Hove Albion), 15 Ethan Laird (Manchester United); 11 Curtis Jones (Capt; Liverpool), 10 Mason Greenwood (Manchester United), 16 Elijah Dixon-Bonner (Liverpool); 20 Clinton Mola (Chelsea), 27 Jack Nolan (Reading), 18, 14 Bobby Duncan (Manchester City)
Substitutes: 2 Vontae Daley-Campbell (Arsenal) for Laird 46, 5 Max Broughton (Bolton Wanderers) for Binks 46, 9 Rayhaan Tulloch (West Bromwich Albion) for Duncan 62
Substitutes not used: 1 Harry Seaden (Southend United), 4 Thomas Doyle (Manchester City), 7 Arvin Appiah (Nottingham Forest), 8 James Garner (Manchester United), 12 Luis Longstaff (Liverpool), 19 Taylor Perry (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Watch full match highlights from the clash at the Pirelli Stadium on FATV here