The Verdict: 'Demon Watch'
ENGLAND 0-0 HOLLAND
Under 19s International Friendly at the Bescot
A crowd of over 8,500 witnessed a friendly that ended in a 0-0 stalemate, with the highlight of the evening being the debut of Saddler`s star, Ishmel Demontagnac.
'The Demon` started on the bench and would not make his debut until 13 minutes from time, but the game started with Holland having the majority of the possession, as midfielder, Vurnon Anita, started to dictate play. On two minutes, the Ajax star had a shot from seven yards hit the side netting, after a clever lay-off from inside the penalty area from striker John Gossens. Despite Holland`s dominance, England`s first chance arrived on five minutes, after good work on the right-hand side from Paul Anderson, as he used his trickery and skill to put in a right footed cross, which was put wide by striker Joe Garner. The highflying Dutchmen came back with a whole host of chances, including a fantastic darting run down the left wing from Jordy Brouwer, who beat three English defenders to unleash a calm right footed strike, which had England goalkeeper Luke Daniels beaten, but for Brouwer to be denied by Daniels`s left-hand post. Then, another Holland corner resulted in the ball rolling to the feet of Brouwer, who`s shot from 20 yards out was deflected wide by his own player. The only other notable England attack came from the left-had side, when winger Andy Hammill crossed for Joe Garner, who again, failed to capitalise with a poor header.
The second half started lethargically, with both sides being scrappy in possession; something that would remain the same throughout this half that only had its share of clear cut chances. The first chance fell to a livelier England side, fresh from their half time changes, from the right boot of England midfielder, Fabrice Muamba, who`s shot from inside the box was blazed over, after a clever free kick from Hammill on the right-hand side. Joe Garner was also guilty of wasting another chance, after he headed over from yet another set piece from Hammill. The game evened out, as poor misplaced passes turned the middle of the pitch into a 'scrap heap.` Then, the moment arrived that the majority of fans had been waiting for on the 77 minute mark, where up until then, the Mexican waves, which had been started by the younger members of the Bescot audience, were the only highlights to note in the second half. However, 'the Demon` had arrived. 'Ishy` came on with little time to make an explosive impact, but he did have enough time to show he has the qualities to succeed at this level. He beat three Dutchmen to win England a free kick, while he tracked back to help out the defence; a side of his game obviously being drummed into him by Walsall manager Richard Money in recent months. Towards the end of the game, Holland had a goal ruled out for offside after some clever approach play on the edge of the area from Diego Biseswar. Otherwise, the game ended up with an even 0-0 stalemate, with an 30 minute wait to get out of the car park. Fun.
DEMON RATING: 6/10 - never really got a chance to shine in his 13 minute spell, but received a memorable reception on his stomping ground from the home fans and managed to put in a grafting performance when it mattered. Overall, not a bad debut, but not an overly exciting one.
STAR MAN: Lee Cattermole (8/10) - was a very solid performance from the Middlesbrough midfielder, who skippered the team. His passing was consistently good, maintained England`s foot in the match with his determination and showed what a promising talent he is. Overall, led by example and combined well with other players to create an attack. One for the future.