Match Report: England MU18s 3-2 Austria
Sheffield United midfielder Oliver Arblaster came off the bench to score the winner for England MU18s in their 3-2 victory over Austria.
George Hall and Divin Mubama had scored either side of half-time for the Young Lions in Croatia but Austria, who had taken the lead initially, pulled level early in the second half.
It looked as though Ryan Garry’s side would have to settle for a draw but with six minutes remaining, Arblaster powered in his first international goal to give MU18s a winning start.
The Young Lions are in Croatia to take part in a four nations tournament, with games against Wales on Friday and Croatia on Monday to follow.
It was a fairly even start to the contest, as the players performed in 27C heat, and shortly before the water break, Austria took the lead when a cut-back from the left was tucked away past James Beadle’s right-hand side by Luka Reischl.
England had their first major chance shortly before the half-hour mark when great work from Thierry Small on the left saw the Southampton wideman skip past his full-back and stand up a cross. West Ham United striker Mubama sent the header goalwards but it was saved by Matteo Bignetti.
The Young Lions had a strong penalty appeal turned away when a cross from the right hit an Austrian defender and it deflected on to his outstretched arm to block the cross, but referee Luka Sliskovic was unmoved.
England did secure an equaliser four minutes before the break though when captain-for-the-day Sammy Braybrooke whipped in a dangerous corner and Hall arrived to head home from six yards out.
Garry’s men then took the lead in the opening minute of the second half when Hall turned provider as his cross was headed home by Mubama, but their advantage was to last only last five minutes as Filip Ristanic pulled Austria level.
There was a proud moment for Finley Potter and his family as the sides entered the final 20 minutes, with the defender, who has impressed for Sheffield United’s Under-18s this season following a serious injury, coming on for his first England appearance at any age group.
And it was his Sheffield United team-mate and fellow replacement Arblaster who was to be the match winner as he cut inside from the left and powered a shot past the goalkeeper from the edge of the penalty area.
Chelsea defender Brodi Hughes was to see a controversial red card in the final moments of the game having already been replaced, when he was deemed to be time wasting and received a second yellow.
England: 1 James Beadle (Brighton & Hove Albion); 5 Brodi Hughes (Chelsea), 6 Ben Nelson (Leicester City), Lewis Hall (Chelsea); 2 Reuell Walters (Arsenal), 7 George Hall (Birmingham City), 4 Sammy Braybrooke (Leicester City) ©, 8 Jack Wells-Morrison (Crystal Palace), 11 Thierry Small (Southampton); 9 Divin Mubama (West Ham United), 10 Kian Pennant (Leicester City)
Substitutes: 12 Michael Olakigbe (Fulham) for Walters 46’, 19 Jude Soonsup-Bell (Chelsea) for Mubama 62’, 20 Sonny Perkins (West Ham United) for Pennant 62’, 16 Finley Potter (Sheffield United) for Hughes 71’, 18 Oliver Arblaster (Sheffield United) for Wells-Morrison 71’, 21 Zak Sturge (Brighton & Hove Albion) for Hall 82’, 23 Harvey Araujo (Fulham) for Small 82’
Substitutes not used: 13 Joe Whitworth (Crystal Palace), 22 Tommy Simkin (Stoke City), 14 Charlie Webster (Chelsea), 15 Bradley Ibrahim (Arsenal), 17 Kaden Rodney (Crystal Palace)
Goals: George Hall 41’, Divin Mubama 47’, Oliver Arblaster 84’
Bookings: Brodi Hughes 57', 89’, Harvey Araujo 90’
Red cards: Brodi Hughes 89’
Head coach: Ryan Garry
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