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Phil Roper makes England début but Belgium still dominate

[img_assist|nid=8185|title=Phil Roper in action for England – image taken at recent friendly against Scotland. Copyright Ady Kerry|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=175|height=162]BELGIUM 4 (3)
Loick Luypaert 25 (PC)
Florent Van Aubel 28 (FG)
Tom Boon 35 (FG)
Xavier Reckinger 70 (PC)

ENGLAND 1 (1)
Barry Middleton 1 (FG)

In the second of England’s three match series against Belgium the home side once again came out on top, this time with a 4-1 victory over their visitors. A goal in the first minute from Captain Barry Middleton put England ahead, but three goals at the end of the first half and one in the 70th minute from a clinical Belgian side gave them a comfortable victory.

Speaking after the game England Head Coach, Bobby Crutchley said, “We had exactly the same start today as yesterday and once again we were too passive across the first 35 minutes. I thought we played really well in the second half, but Belgium are along way ahead of us in terms of their clinical play, and that’s really shown over these two fixtures. I am slightly frustrated because we’ve shown some really strong play at times, but we need to start to convert that play into goals which we have not done so far over here.”

Sheffield Hallam’s Phil Roper, making his step up from the Under 21 National Age Group, made his international debut. Beeston’s Harry Martin flew home after the game to take his final university exam of the year and will rejoin the squad for Thursday’s fixture.

The game started brightly for England with a goal from Captain Barry Middleton in the opening minute of play. A neat one-two with East Grinstead’s Ashley Jackson saw Middleton receive the ball from 12 yards out, which he smashed home through the Belgian goalkeeper’s legs to make it 1-0.

After a promising start, England found themselves on the back foot as Belgium step up the pressure searching for an equaliser. Beeston’s George Pinner made a fantastic save in open play on the 11th minute from a reverse stick shot by Tom Boon.

With just ten minutes remaining in the first half Belgium turned on the style finding the target three times before the break to take the score to 3-1. England made some defensive errors and looked slightly unsettled which allowed Loick Luypaert, Florent Van Aubel and Tom Boon to capitalise and add their names to the score sheet.

In similar style to yesterday, England were much brighter in the second half. Reading’s Darren Cheesman came close again, hitting the post in open play, but England could not find a way through. On the final whistle Belgium won a Penalty Corner; a clearance from Hampstead & Westminster’s Dan Fox was stopped by Belgium before it left the circle and as it was played back in Xavier Reckinger got a stick to it and deflected it in to make it 4-1.

England’s next game against Belgium takes place on Thursday at 10:00 UK time.

Belgium v England schedule

Date 

Time (UK)

Teams

Result

June 3rd, 2013

14:00

 BEL – ENG

5-2

June 4th, 2013

19:00

 BEL – ENG

4-1

June 6th, 2013

10:00

 BEL – ENG

 

Belgium v England Squad

Started

Adam Dixon – Beeston – Midfielder/Defender

Dan Fox – Hampstead & Westminster – Defender

Michael Hoare – Beeston – Defender

Ashley Jackson – East Grinstead – Midfielder

Simon Mantell – Reading – Forward

Barry Middleton – Holcombe – Midfielder

George Pinner – Beeston – Goalkeeper

Oliver Willars – Beeston – Defender

Darren Cheesman – Reading – Forward

Mark Gleghorne – East Grinstead – Forward

Henry Weir – Loughborough Students – Defender

Substitutes used

Tom Carson – Reading – Forward

Nick Catlin – Reading – Midfielder/Forward

Ben Arnold – Beeston – Forward

Andy Bull – Loughborough Students – Defender

Phil Roper – Sheffield Hallam – Forward

Dan Shingles – Southgate – Midfielder 

Did not play

James Bailey – Reading – Goalkeeper

David Condon – Loughborough Students – Midfielder

Harry Martin – Beeston – Midfielder 

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