Bent brace fires England to victory
PUBLISHED: 23:15 14 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:21 03 March 2010
SOCCER: England Under-19s 3 Germany Under-19s 1. Ipswich Town ace Darren Bent had the night of his life as he bagged a brace to help his country to victory against Germany at Portman Road. The striker turned in a man of the match performance in front of nearly 22,000 fans at his home ground as England U19s went on to win 3-1.
IPSWICH Town ace Darren Bent had the night of his life as he bagged a brace to help his country to victory against Germany at Portman Road.
The striker turned in a man of the match performance in front of nearly 22,000 fans at his home ground as England U19s went on to win 3-1.
His first was a cracking finish after neat work by Crewe man Dean Ashton and the second was a real goalscorers effort from just inside the six-yard box.
His Valentine's Day strikes could well signal the start of a love affair with the Ipswich Town fans who will be hoping to see him turn in similar performances for his club's first team in the not too distant future.
Matt Bloomfield, also of Ipswich, came on with 25 minutes of the game remaining and showed some nice touches in the centre of the park.
The crowd of 21, 954 was a record for an U19 fixture in this country, many of which were school children enjoying a special half-term treat.
England's youngsters took the lead, arguably against the run of play, with only seven minutes showing on the clock.
Ashton, the latest young star from the Crewe production line, seized on an error by defender Malik Fathi before releasing Lionel Morgan of Wimbledon.
The forward took his chance well and fired across the keeper to put his country in front.
For much of the half Germany enjoyed plenty of possession without ever really threatening the England rearguard and were reduced mainly to shots from range.
About half way through the first period the German keeper, Haas, was lucky not to get in trouble when he handled outside the area but referee David Elleray allowed play to continue.
England, playing with a 4-3-3 formation, continued to look the more dangerous of the two teams in a first half that was fairly even in terms of possession.
Bent, who started in a wide right position, sprung into life five minutes before the interval. He cut inside past Meyer to try a curling effort with his left foot from 20 yards but the ball just dropped wide of the post.
However just three minutes later the Ipswich man was on the score sheet. Ashton was again the provider as he poked the ball through to Bent who stayed on-side and unleashed an unstoppable drive into the top right hand corner to the delight of the crowd.
Perhaps due to a number of substitutions the second period started slowly and it was the German youngsters who were next to notch.
Substitute Marcel Schied scored with his first touch, a header from a corner following a flick-on at the near post.
After the goal the game sprung into life with both sides having chances to find the back of the net and it was that man Bent, now playing in a more familiar central role, who did just that.
Michael Chopra took advantage of more slack German defending to tear down the right flank. As he crossed Bent cleverly got in front of his marker to turn the ball expertly past the keeper into the net in front of a packed South stand.
Moments later Germany should have pulled a goal back. The impressive Kneissl, who is on Chelsea's books, did well to make space and shoot from the edge of the area. His effort bounced back off the post but Hanke, who had a miserable night, could only put the ball over the bar with the goal gaping.
More chances followed and Bent nearly joined the likes of Geoff Hurst and Michael Owen by scoring a hat-trick against the traditional enemy. However he stumbled and missed his kick when in front of goal with just over ten minutes remaining.
As the game petered out, with yet more substitutions being made, England did not look like conceding again.
Many players emerged with great credit from the match but none more than Darren Bent who will remember his night scoring for England at Portman Road against Germany for many years to come.