Romania vs England (Game 2)
It was day 2 of the friendly series between Romania and England. Conditions were certainly different from the previous day as huge rain pours; thunder and lightning covered the skyline.
England were looking to build on their impressive win the day before and it was Kieron O’Callaghan who found himself in bundles of space early in the game after intercepting a pass, but his shot was saved by Romania’s goalkeeper Rizan.
Dean Blake put his country in front though after drawing the foul from just outside Romania’s box and he scored with a low strike.
The home crowd were trying to boost their team by chanting and lighting flares and it seemed to be motivating them. M. Poste hit the crossbar with a volley from a cross and the equaliser soon followed. Bowes illegally fouled Alin to concede a penalty who shot past Sam Webb.
Distribution had been great from Webb over the two games and he found Steve Black on the right wing who headed across goal for debutant Dan Roberts to put his diving header agonisingly wide.
Black again was involved in the next meaningful attack for England who found Jonny Rodriguez’s acrobatic bicycle kick get blocked by M. Poste. With the last kick of the period, again Romania’s M. Poste went for a shot just inside England’s half that found the back of the net.
Almost immediately in the second period, Maci touched down for captain Roby to rifle home in the top corner to give the home side a two-goal advantage. With decisions going all Romania’s way, it was clearly a case of ball to hand on Gary Funnell, which to England’s disbelief, the official pointed towards the penalty spot. Roby stepped up to try and put his team 4 – 1 up but Webb saved low to his right.
Funnell who was adamant he should of received a penalty after being fouled at one end of the pitch, turned to see his opponent’s score at the other. Roby made up for his earlier missed penalty and tipped the ball pass Webb.
England responded well though, a corner was not dealt with properly from the Romanian goalkeeper and Rodriguez was there to score past Rizan.
Going into the last period, England knew that the next goal would be huge. O’Callaghan swivelled to find space after collecting Rodriguez’s pass and his shot whistled past the goalkeeper. Romania could sense England’s momentum building and straight from the centre kick they hit the cross bar. This was followed by a goal from Croi to dent England’s hopes of getting anything out of the game.
Funnell had other ideas; his volley straight from the centre kick was expertly hit which gave his team a chance of snatching something from the game. Funnell, again in the thick of it, was there to make sure the match would go to extra time as he used his pace to take the ball round the keeper and smash it into the goal.
There would be one final scare for England. With one minute left, Boata of Romania had a free kick just outside the box but to England’s delight, Webb was again on call to make a great save.
With scores still level after the 3 minutes of extra time, the game would go to sudden death penalties.
Dean Blake was first for England to take a penalty but had his shot saved by Rizan. Maci then put the game to bed as his shot went top left corner of the goal to seal a penalty win.
It was a decent 2 days for England who won the series 3 pts to Romania’s 2 pts (only 2 pts awarded for a win after normal play). Player/manager Jamie O’Rourke will be pleased with the spirit shown from his team to come back from a 3-goal deficit.
By James Corcoran