Regardless of the level, it is always a great privilege to represent your country, and today that honour fell to two of our young up-and-coming prospects, as Harry Bower and Ben Clark donned England shirts.
Representing England Colleges FA and Independent Schools FA respectively, both players were involved in a two-day camp at St. George’s Park, the English FA’s National Football Centre.
The game itself was played in the indoor 3G dome, a surface of course that both are well used to with The New Saints of Oswestry Town.
As a club we are always proud of the external achievements of our players and today we were on hand to witness them in action.
The game kicked off with Clark – wearing the number 17 shirt – on from the start with Bower on the bench.
It didn’t take long for the deadlock to be broken, as the Independent Schools took the lead in the 8th minute. A good through ball was calmly slotted past the keeper by Merlin Ferrinho.
Ten minutes later the opportunity to double the lead was denied by the woodwork, as a penalty struck the post to the keeper’s right.
A solid work-rate from Clark in the first half was typified by a great block in the 25th minute. Setting up an attack on the Colleges’ goal, unfortunately for Ben’s side, it amounted to nothing.
A minute later, a header again created an attacking move that was broken down by a foul, with the resultant free-kick not troubling the opposition.
As the teams went into the break separated by just the one goal, Clark’s contribution involved covering a lot of ground in his central midfield position.
With Harry Bower coming on at the start of the second period, TNS was represented by two players on the pitch, although Clark was substituted late in the game.
The tempo of the second half was much higher and this suited Bower, whose work-rate was second-to-none.
In the 58th minute, a ball played in from the right was met by Harry on the far post but fell comfortably for the keeper.
Seven minutes later and it was Ben 2 Harry 0 as the Calvin Kissi found the net. A well-taken shot in the box gave the keeper no chance.
Looking to bounce back immediately though, it was Bower again in the thick of the action as from close-range down the Colleges’ left he forced a corner.
With seven minutes to go Harry – donning the number 21 shirt – was involved in an exchange with his teammates, as they looked to hoist themselves back in the game.
There was time for one more goal but with it falling to Clark’s side, it was game, set and match as the contest entered the final five minutes.
It was the number 9, Kissi, who grabbed his second of the game, flinging himself at a corner played in from the left. His close-range header gave the keeper no chance.
The Colleges never gave up the ghost though and almost immediately, Bower went for goal down the right, with his chip being dealt with comfortably.
Both Ben and Harry represented themselves, their respective teams and our club very well indeed today. We interviewed them on the pitch immediately after the game and you can watch those below.
In addition, check out the photographs that we took via the Facebook album.