Harrogate Veterans bounced back from their opening game defeat to comprehensively beat a United Arab Emirates side containing several ex-internationals, 4-0 last night, to put themselves firmly in the driving seat to secure a semi-final place in the Seniors World Cup.
Once again playing in the late afternoon heat, England set an early tempo and took full advantage of the pace they had up front with both starting strikers, Godwin Douglas and Simon Deakin scoring from close range in the first 18 minutes.
Although the UAE had a talented and troublesome front two, the English side were able to block the service to them and should really have wrapped the game up either side of half-time, but the UAE goalmouth was leading a charmed life as chances went begging.
Not knowing at the time how the other group game was progressing, manager Paul Bell, knew goals scored could still be a crucial factor, and drove his side on, continuously introducing fresh legs. The English persistence finally paid of as Ian Simpson headed a third a minute from time and Lee Henry drilled in a low shot in added time.
“It was a good response from all the boys involved,” said Bell.
“Although it would have been nice to have had the game wrapped up earlier, instead of having to keep the foot down for the whole game. But we go into the final group game against Taiwan in a confident mood.”
In the other group A game hosts Thailand beat Taiwan 4-1, meaning that England now only require a draw tonight to secure a place in the semi-finals against holders Iran, who have already won group B courtesy of victories against Australia and New Zealand.