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Published 16 August 2023 4 min read
England Para Teams

Report: England Partially Sighted 3-3 Spain

Written by:

Nicholas Veevers

The Para Lions held in their opening game at the IBSA World Championships in Walsall

England had to settle for a point against Spain in their opening game of the IBSA World Championship partially-sighted tournament on Wednesday evening.

The Para Lions shared a thrilling game in Walsall to kick-off their campaign on home soil, and Steve Daley's team had to show real character to equalise twice against an impressive Spanish team.

It started so well for England too, as they took the lead with just over 30 seconds of play when Harry Gibbons' quick-thinking from an early kick-in saw him pick out Doug Pratt in the area to turn home.

But after a shaky start, Spain began to settle into the game and they equalised when Carlos Mendez's cross-shot was turned home from close range by Saul Martinez.

The impressive Martinez went one better shortly after to put Spain ahead, collecting the ball in his own half before skilfully beating Liam Spinks with a nutmeg and breaking into the England half. After flicking a pass out to Oliver Canestro, he continued his run into the area where he emphatically finished the resulting pass back in.

The Para Lions ended the first half with four players too, after goalkeeper Myles Chadwick was shown a red card after blocking a shot outside of his area.

That was the cue for Spain to push for a third goal, but England held firm for the two minutes with Jack Walsh coming into goal to replace Chadwick.

The Para Lions took the lead against Spain, but had to settle for a point after a 3-3 draw
The Para Lions took the lead against Spain, but had to settle for a point after a 3-3 draw
After weathering the storm, England ended the first half with a flurry as both Spinks from close range and Pratt from distance were denied by the Spanish 'keeper.

The second half was a cagey affair, with both teams knowing the next goal was crucial and both sides had chances.

Martinez came close to getting his hat-trick, only for Walsh to deny him, while Harry Gibbons' long-range free kick was saved with 13 mins left.

The equaliser arrived with just over six minutes remaining, when Gibbons nicked the ball on half way line before driving forward and firing a low, angled shot at goal which was fumbled by Spanish keeper before Pratt looked to make sure on the line.

But Spain bounced back and were back in front with four minutes left when Juan Cornejo was picked out in space on the left and dinked a fine finish past Walsh to restore their advantage.

England didn't give in though and after taking off Walsh to bring on a fifth outfield player, the gamble paid off and it was Paul McHugh who had the last say, as he bravely finished at the far post to knock home Pratt's low cross from the right to ensure England avoided defeat in their opener.

The host nation will be back in action on Thursday, when they take on France in their second group game, with the match kicking-off at 5.30pm BST and live on the IBSA YouTube channel.

England: Myles Chadwick, Harry Gibbons, Adam Lione, Douglas Pratt, Liam Spinks, Jacob Heasman, Harry Macdonald, John McDougall, Paul McHugh, Josh Pugh, Jack Walsh

Head coach: Steve Daley

Spain: Daniel Alonso, Juan Galvez, Carlos Mendez, Oliver Canestro, Saul Martinez, Amin Berrada, E. Corneto, Hector Cerda, Danuel Crevllen

Head coach: Xavi