Braintree duo do their duty but England lose in Russia

Halstead Gazette: Kenny Davis in action for England C. Picture: Phil Mingo/Pinnacle Kenny Davis in action for England C. Picture: Phil Mingo/Pinnacle

Braintree Town’s Kenny Davis and Nathan McDonald came on as second-half substitutes as England C suffered a 4-0 defeat by Russia in their International Challenge Trophy group game in Moscow.

The Iron duo were unable to make too much impact on the tie as England were trailing 3-0 at the time they came on, with midfielder Davis coming on in the 73rd minute and goalkeeper McDonald entering the fray four minutes later.

It had taken the hosts nearly 30 minutes to break down the young England side, but once Delkin had broken the deadlock in the 27th minute, they quickly added another through Bibilov three minutes before the break.

Delkin got his second of the game ten minutes into the second half before a penalty from Smolov completed the scoring in the 81st minute.

Manager Paul Fairclough had told the Times before the game that he considered the tie to be the toughest that his England under-23 side, which is made up solely of players operating outside the Football League, had ever faced.

The Russian team in the International Challenge Trophy is a B side to the full international side and Fairclough was philosophical afterwards.

He said: “We were under no illusions as to the task we faced.

“We set about our game plan and it worked for 27 minutes.

“We almost scored and (Jonathan) Hedge did not have a shot to save, but two bad errors undid all our good work.

“I would have been happy going in one down at half-time but to go in at 2-0 down meant that we had to change things around and this allowed the Russians to expose us more as the game progressed.

“We were beaten by a quality side and we are now faced with going to Belgium in September knowing that we must win to qualify for the semi-finals (of the International Challenge Trophy).”

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