Billingham Synthonia Academy players were given the opportunity to visit Wembley last week, and watch England play their 1000th game at the stadium. The opportunity offered by the club was snapped up by the players, as their hard-work on the pitch and in the class-room was rewarded in some style.
The team met at the Top Corner Sports centre where Billingham Synthonia host their training sessions. It was a 10am start for the lads who all brought their Synners training kits and flags for the journey. The 6 hours of travelling was made easier (or harder for others) with some questionable song choices coming from the back of the bus. The mini-bus driven by Club Chairman Jamie Pollock, was buzzing with excitement as most people were about to visit Wembley for the very first time. Reminiscing on the big names who have played for England previously such as; Rooney, Lampard, John Terry and more, it emphasised the size of the opportunity the club had ahead of them.
When arriving in London the players had a couple of hours to venture around Wembley Park, visiting some big retailers and getting a bite to eat. The atmosphere was incredible around the stadium with everyone embracing the energy before kick-off. After getting food at a near-by restaurant, both the staff and the players met up near the stadium and headed in together. There was time to take some photographs before going in, with the pictures most-likely being uploaded to everyone's Instagram shortly after.
The first look at the pitch was incredible, the fans in the stands were already creating a great atmosphere and the music being played was making the place bounce. We got in there not long before kick off and took a few moments adjusting to the spectacle around us. The club stood to respect both national anthems prior to kick-off, belting out God Save The Queen alongside 70,000 England supporters. England were red hot favourites for this game but we’ve seen so many times before that anything can happen in football… But as you probably know, there was no shock upset this time.
England controlled the game from the off passing the ball around fluently and holding a good shape from the 1 st minute. Montenegro were able to keep England at bay, but only until the 11 th minute when Ben Chillwell played a clever ball out to Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right side of the box, who took a touch before rifling the ball into the far corner of the goal. Chillwell proved to by a significant character in the game, as he also assisted England’s second when crossing a free-kick that was headed home by Harry Kane. There was a hat-trick in the game… and not the one you’re thinking of. Ben Chillwell grabbed a hat-trick of assists when setting up Harry Kane for his second and England’s third. Chillwell whipped in a corner that was delivered perfectly to meet the run of Harry Kane who headed the ball into the ground making it harder for the keeper to judge. The ball flew into the back of the net and England were 3-0 up inside 25 minutes.
There was another hat-trick in the game, this time for Harry Kane, which he completed after Marcus Rashford scored England’s 4 th of the night. his curling effort was placed in the bottom right corner of the goal after Maguire’s initial effort was saved by Mijatovic. Kane wrapped up the third with an impressive finish as he found his back to goal when on the receiving end of a Jaden Sancho cross. With pressure from the defender breathing down his neck, Kane composed himself and was able to swivel his body and hit a reverse shot across goal that caught the keeper wrong footed and finished in the far corner of the net. The half-time whistle came with England 5 goals to the good, and the pressure lifted for the second-half.
The second-half wasn’t a 5-goal thriller like the first, but England still grabbed two more to add to the collection. Marcus Rashford made his way into the box and pulled a ball back across goal when reaching the by-line. The pass was intended for Sancho but the keeper was able to parry the ball just behind the number 7. Mason Mount was on the receiving end of the second ball and smashed a shot towards goal that deflected off Sofranac before hitting the bottom side of the crossbar, sending it over the goal-line. The 7 th and final goal came in the 84 th minute when Jaden Sancho played Tammy Abraham in for his first senior England goal.
The full-time whistle came and the lads were over the moon with the England performance they had just witnessed. Jamie Pollock added: “It was a great day for the lads and to see 7 goals in a game is rare. All the lads realised the quality of the England players and dedication they must put in, in order to achieve the standards they have.”
The journey home consisted of more conversation about the game and few more questionable songs. It was a great day for academy players, and they will be looking forward to the next opportunity.
By James McDonald