Match Report: Andorra U21s vs England U21s: 2019 U21 European Championship Qualifying Group 4 Matchday Four 11th October 2017
Davies Strike Fires England To Andorra Victory
A second-half effort from Everton’s Tom Davies gave Aidy Boothroyd’s England U21s a slim victory in Andorra yesterday evening to open a four-point lead at the top of Group 4 2019 U19 European Championship Qualifying.
The Three Lions came into the tie off the back of Friday night’s impressive 3-1 victory over Scotland at The Riverside Stadium, while the hosts were low on confidence after a 6-0 thrashing in Ukraine.
The home side had also only taken one point from three Games in the tough Group 4 heading into the clash, whereas England were unbeaten and had two victories to their name.
From the start, Aidy Boothroyd opted for eight changes from the Scotland victory as Everton’s Jonjo Kenny, Joe Worrall, Chelsea’s Fikayo Tomori, Tom Davies, Kieran Dowell, Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles, New York star Jack Harrison and Ademola Lookman all came in.
Those youngsters replaced Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Boro’s Dael Fry, Lewis Cook, Leicester City’s Demarai Gray, Josh Onomah, Swansea City’s Tammy Abraham and Dominic Solanke.
Meanwhile, Justo Ruiz’s young side included the likes of exciting starlets Aaron Sanchez, Espanyol man Albert Alavedra and promising young FC Andorra keeper Francisco Pires.
The hosts may have been the weaker team on paper by quite some distance but this did not stop them from putting up a stern fight against The Three Lions.
The visiting starlets pushed on early at Estadi Comunal d’Andorra la Vella with Harrison, making his first start from The U21s despite never playing a competitive domestic match in Europe, pulling the strings.
However, the first-half would be a frustration for Boothroyd’s Boys as they tried countless times but couldn’t break down the Andorran defensive wall.
Despite this, it would only take the Young Lions eight minutes of the second period to race into a deserved and long-awaited lead.
Spurs left-back Kyle Walker-Peters made some superb progress down the left side before delivering an inch-perfect delivery to the head of Toffee Tom Davies.
The old-fashioned central midfielder, who has netted twice in The Premier League since breaking through into Ronald Koeman’s first-team, launched a powerful header beyond the flapping Pires that found the bottom corner.
The goal would prove to be decisive in The Principality as England’s only in a vital away victory that displayed the impressive Squad depth of the England Youth setup.
A home defeat leaves Andorra flagging at the bottom of Group 4 and with very little chance of reaching Italy & San Marino 2019, they face a daunting Qualifying trip to Holland next month.
The story couldn’t be more different from The Three Lions, as they sit at the top with 10 points and will look to extend their four-point lead in November away against an in-form Ukraine side.
Man of the Match: Ainsley Maitland-Niles.