Sheffield Wednesday legend’s son grabs brace as England U18s beat Poland U18s at Lamex Stadium
PUBLISHED: 21:03 10 November 2016 | UPDATED: 08:02 11 November 2016
Sheffield Wednesday forward George Hirst, son of Owls’ legend David, notched a brace as England U18s saw off Poland U18s 2-0 in a friendly at Stevenage’s Lamex Stadium tonight (Thursday).
England U18s v Poland U18s
England stopper Ellery Balcombe. Picture: OP Photographic
Fulham's Dennis Adeniran is fouled by Poland's Daniel Mikocajeio. Picture: OP Photographic
England man with a poppy armband. Picture: OP Photographic
Fulham's Dennis Adeniran receives a yellow card. Picture: OP Photographic
Elliot Embleton holds onto the ball as Daniel Mikocajeio is booked. Picture: OP Photographic
England U18s boss Neil Dewsnip. Picture: OP Photographic
The raucous Lamex Stadium crowd. Picture: OP Photographic
England man clears the ball. Picture: OP Photographic
England during the national anthems. Picture: OP Photographic
George Hirst looking to win the ball back. Picture: OP Photographic
George Hirst strokes away his second-half penalty. Picture: OP Photographic
Poland during the national anthems. Picture: OP Photographic
The hosts were on the back foot for much of the first half with Brentford keeper Ellery Balcombe’s goal under fire but having wasted chances from Pawel Olslewski and Jakub Moder, England took the lead in the 39th minute.
Ipswich Town attacking midfielder Andre Dozzell sent a low cross across the face of Kamil Grabara’s goal and Hirst touched in with the efficiency of his father who scored 106 goals in 294 games for the Hillsborough club.
Hirst wasn’t done there for the evening either.
Following Oskar Repka’s sloppy back-pass towards goal, the striker pounced and was duly brought down in the area by the scrambling defender.
Up stepped Hirst to convert from 12 yards and double the hosts’ lead.
England pushed on but Poland still looked dangerous and twice brought smart saves out of Balcombe.
The game will be largely remembered for the contributions of Hirst though and with only minutes remaining he twice went close to completing his hat-trick.
First he nodded Tolaji Bola’s cross off-target before, moments later,racing towards goal and striking the post.
The Owls certainly have quite a player on their hands on this evidence.
England, having won three of their last four encounters before this Polish test, flew out of the traps with Fulham’s Dennis Adeniran seeing a fifth-minute shot from their first corner blocked by a staunch Poland body.
That was as near to the visitors’ goal as they got in the next 20 minutes as wave after wave of red attack befell England.
Tymoteusz Puchacz’s cross looked to be flying out of harm’s way but his full-back partner Olslewski raced onto it, firing over Balcombe’s crossbar.
Moments later Legia Warsaw midfielder Sebastian Szymanski flashed a 20-yard effort agonisingly wide of Balcombe’s left-hand post while Lech Poznan’s Jakub Moder warmed the palms of the Bees’ young keeper with a fizzing, angled drive.
Poland, who had twice put Finland U18s to the sword in their previous two outings last month, continued to impress in the final third but just couldn’t find the all-important opener and six minutes before the break they paid for their lack of incisiveness.
Dozzell hammered down the touchline and squared the ball invitingly across to Hirst and he touched into the empty net.
England came out for the second half with more vigour and 17-year-old Hirst was at the centre of the action again, winning and converting the spot-kick to give his side breathing space.
With a two-goal lead Neil Dewsnip’s side looked much more assured but could have been pegged back by earlier villain Repka.
The defender turned well in the box but saw his shot deflected wide of the mark.
The away side weren’t going to give up and they continued to push, looking for a way back into the game.
However, England didn’t look like relinquishing their advantage though and Adeniran almost trebled the young Lions’ lead. His 25-yard effort whistled past the goal.
At the other end Puchacz was again on the march and this time found the target with a strike but Balcombe saved adeptly.
Hirst should have got the hat-trick his play deserved in the final moments but it wasn’t to be.
Nevertheless, an impressive showing by the Three Lions who will look to end 2016 with victory over France at Peterborough United’s ABAX Stadium on Monday night.
England - Balcombe; Tanganga, Feeney (capt), Dinzeyi, Bola; Leko (Ennis, 65), Adeniran, McGuane, Embleton; Dozzell, Hirst. Subs not used - Turner, Diallo, Uwakwe, Tanner.
Poland - Grabara; Olslewski (Grym, 85), Repka, Chrzamowski (capt), Puchacz; Szymanski (Wiktoruk, 64), Mikocajeio (Funk, 46), Slisz (Pawtowski, 83), Kopacz; Kurminowski (Feliks, 64), Moder (Drawz, 46). Subs not used - Mleczko.
Attendance - 2,655.