CHESTERFIELD’S B2net hosted its first ever international match as England hosted its greatest rivals Germany in an Under 19’s friendly.
The 9,141 gate set a new ground record but the majority went home disappointed as the visitors won by a single goal, scored just before the break.
Lee Nicholls twice saved low to deny the impressive Akaki Gogia and Lennart Thy before Hoffenheim’s Denis Thomalla slid the ball home with England’s defenders claiming a foul on the keeper.
Noel Blake’s England’s starting line-up included three Liverpool players and two from Manchester United, though the most experienced campaigner was Ipswich Town’s Connor Wickham. The striker scored a superb solo goal at the weekend against Blades.
Sheffield United’s Jordan Slew came off the bench for Wickham just before the hour and almost made his mark, getting involved in several attacks. He twisted his body to volley just over from a corner as England began to enjoy a decent spell and threaten to get back on terms.
The young Blade crossed for Jordan Obita whose shot was saved by sub keeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegan but he was then unable to get any meaningful contact on an inviting cross from Luke Garbutt when just a couple of yards out.
Germany had the first effort on goal, Thy shooting just wide. Within a couple of minutes of that, the B2net witnessed its first ever Mexican Wave. Starting in the North Stand, it managed three laps before petering out! Will Keane had England’s first effort on target. Put through by Tom Ince, son Paul, he shot straight at Bernd Leno. Wilfred Zaha hit wide too.
Conor Coady displayed some exquisite skill to shoot from range with England’s closest effort. His shot thumped the upright.
England: Nicholls (Wigan); Hurst (WBA), Thorpe (Man U), Taft (Leicester), Robinson (Liverpool); Zaha (Palace), Coady (Liverpool), Keane (Man U), Ince (Liverpool); Thorne (WBA), Wickham (Ipswich). Subs: Garbutt (Everton) Steer (Norwich) Slew (Sheff United) Kennedy (Man City) Obita (Reading) Nicholson (Spurs), Berahino (WBA).