(Salford City’s Tom Walker scored a stunning goal to put England C level in the second half. Image: David Loveday)
Republic of Ireland Amateurs: 4
Stritch 15, Murphy 46, Hayes 81, 86
England C: 2
Pennell 39, Walker 58
By Matt Badcock in Dublin at Home Farm FC
England C fell to defeat in Dublin as Eoin Hayes came off the bench to hit a quick-fire double for Republic of Ireland Amateurs.
Non-League’s Three Lions twice came from behind at Home Farm FC through Luke Pennell and Tom Walker’s scintillating strike, but substitute Hayes ended their hopes of a winner with two well taken goals in the final ten minutes.
England boss Paul Fairclough named his youngest squad ever featuring six debutants in his starting line-up, with the rest all involved when England beat Wales in March.
Dagenham & Redbridge striker Fejiri Okenabirhie stole the show that night with a hat-trick and he was close to touching home a fizzed cross early on.
But it was the open age Ireland side who took the lead after a period of pressure when Shane Stritch’s low effort slipped through the low grasp of the unfortunate Tom McHale.
The rain was driving down and had it not been for a brilliant covering tackle by Fraser Horsfall, when Paul Murphy got in behind, it could have been two.
England started to pass the ball better and on 39 minutes they levelled – Josh Koroma’s shot rebounded to Ky Marsh-Brown, he crossed from the left where Dagenham & Redbridge defender Pennell looped a header into the far corner.
Jersey-based keeper Euan Van der Vliet came on at the break along with Salford City’s Walker, who replaced Josh Koroma.
England were behind again inside 60 second-half seconds when a free-kick played down the side of the defence was squeezed inside the bottom corner by Murphy.
Van der Vliet blocked Jordan Buckley’s shot when he was played in by Murphy moments before England equalised for a second time.
Walker picked the ball up on the left, drove forward and unleased an unstoppable strike inside the top corner from 25 yards.
Both sides made use of their substitutions in search of a winner and it paid off for the hosts on 81 minutes.
Adam Foley got to the byline and put a low ball across the box that came to Hayes, who calmly side-footed into the net. Just five minutes later Hayes had his second, tucking inside the post from ten yards.
England’s Alex Brown was kept out well by Mark Power’s strong save but England couldn’t set up a frantic finale on a frustrating afternoon.
FAI: O’Connell (Power 73); McCormac (Albor 78), McCarthy, Horgan (Fitzgerald 59), Murray, Hyland, Buckley (Doherty 66), Walsh (Foley 59), Stritch (Clarke 66), Murphy (Hayes 59), Daly-Butz
England C: McHale (Van der Vliet 46), Ling (Brown 56), Staunton, Horsfall, Pennell, Miley, Adams (Wheatley 76), Wright (Crawford 67), Koroma (Walker 46), Okenabirhie, Marsh-Brown
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