Yeovil's famous five hold the Four Nations trophy
Photo © 2003 Ciderspace
England's National Game XI side yesterday clinched the 2003 Four Nations Tournament at Camarthen Town's Bridge Meadow ground, but could only manage a lack-lustre 1-1 draw against Scotland, thus denying Paul Fairclough's side of a clean sweep in the tournament.
Fairclough chose to rest four out of the five Yeovil Town stars who had contributed so heavily to the side's success against Republic of Ireland (4-0) and Wales (2-0) leaving only Lee Johnson in the starting line-up for the final match. Whilst Terry Skiverton and Darren Way were carrying slight knocks, Kirk Jackson and Chris Weale were frustratingly dropped, and the result was a disjointed erratic performance from England.
In reality, Weale should have been on the field of play as early as 15 minutes into the match. Chester City's Scott Guyett was caught napping in defence, and when Scotland's Ian Murray robbed him of the ball, Hereford keeper Matt Baker sent Murray sprawling in the box for a cast iron penalty. Only an extremely charitable match referee saved the Hereford player from a red card, but Murray still made Baker pay, by slotting home the spot kick.
England equalised in the 59th minute, after completing a rare flowing move. Junior Agogo fed Rosco D'Sane and the Aldershot striker produced a strong low drive into the corner of the net.
Yeovil's Kirk Jackson finally was let loose with 20 minutes to go, and he almost played a part in winning the game for England, when his excellent cross was met by the head of Doncaster's Tristan Whitman who put the glacing header wide from six yards. That would have been rough justice though on the Scots, who almost grabbed their own winner in injury time, only for keeper Baker to partially redeem himself with a good blocking save.
The result meant that England did not have to wait for the result of the Wales versus Republic of Ireland match, and so lifted the Four Nations trophy. As it happens, they didn't need to worry - Wales fell to a shock defeat against wooden-spoonists Ireland, with Cork striker Jamie Nolan grabbing both goals in a 2-0 win.
The results left England as clear winners of the tournament, with Scotland taking the runners-up spot. Wales just about pipped the Republic of Ireland by virtue of their better goal difference.
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