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Young Lions tamed in a Pirelli reverse

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: June 02, 2014

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England suffered last-minute heartbreak against Ukraine as a late own-goal gave the visitors a 1-0 victory at Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium and eliminated Noel Blake’s men from the European Championship.

Following wins in each of their previous Elite Round group games, the Young Lions went into the afternoon fixture knowing either a win or a draw would be enough to book their place in Hungary.

However, despite dominating for much of the match, England were unable to find the breakthrough and with Ukraine piling everybody forward, an injury-time deflection off captain Calum Chambers gave the visitors the three points they needed to top the group and qualify for the finals in July themselves.

Heading into their third game in five days, manager Blake made four changes to the side that beat Scotland 2-1 on Monday.

John Swift returned to the centre of midfield, while Devante Cole got his first action of the Elite Round and started on the left of a front three for England.

Callum Robinson, who has impressed coming off the bench in each of the two previous outings, got his chance alongside Cole and Chuba Akpom – while Chelsea’s FA Youth Cup-winning captain Ruben Loftus-Cheek got his first start of the Elite Round alongside club team-mates Swift and Lewis Baker in midfield.

The first half was a tight affair, as with both sides knowing a victory would be enough to see them through to the Euro 2014 Finals, the opening exchanges were all about staying in the game.

England did, however, begin the more attacking of the two. Robinson – starting for the first time at Under-19 level – fired inches over with a curling right-foot shot within a minute of the start.

The Aston Villa youngster – who had scored three times in his four appearances for the U19s to date – was pulling the strings throughout the opening minutes and turned creator moments later as he crossed from the right – but there was nobody in the middle to meet Cole’s lay-off.

The Young Lions continued on the front foot as the game progressed, with Ukraine offering little in the way of attacking impetus.

Viktor Kovalenko and Viacheslav Tankovski were a threat on the counter-attack, but Christian Walton in the England goal was rarely troubled and neither side was able to break the deadlock before the half-way point.

The Brighton & Hove Albion youngster was, however, called into action early in the second half as he Walton and Lloyd Jones combined to keep Yaremchuk’s out with a fantastic double stop.

Walton firstly saved Yaremchuk’s header – spectacularly clawing back off the line when the striker looked odds-on score.

The rebound fell to Yaremchuk, but he took a touch which allowed Jones to get back on the line and block the follow up before England cleared their lines.

Relatively comfortable until then, it seemed to be a wakeup call for Blake’s young side and they regained their composure.

Ola Aina went close, Akpom chose to dribble when he may have shot and Baker twice fired on target, but into the arms of substitute goalkeeper Bogdan Sarnavskyi – who had replaced the injured Roman Pidkivka.

But following the injury to the Ukraine goalkeeper, the assistant referee signaled there would be seven minutes of added time. It seemed to give the visitors a degree of belief and with the game entering the dying stages substitute Artem Biesiedin found himself in space on the right and, despite Walton saving his shot well it bounced off the goalkeeper, onto the helpless Chambers and into the net.

There was enough time for England to mount one more attack and Baker struck a post from a free-kick.

But it just was not to be England’s day.

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