Manager Paul Fairclough paid tribute to his side's character and determination after Wednesday's victory.
International Challenge Trophy, Group A
Wednesday 20 February 2008
St James' Park, Exeter City FC
England C Manager Paul Fairclough was a happy man after he saw his side battle to a 2-1 victory over Wales last night.
The win means the team have won two games out of two in Group A of The International Challenge Trophy, setting up a tasty away fixture in Italy later this year.
Fairclough was honest enough to admit his team hadn't been on top of their game, but praised his players' resilience after a tough three days.
"It was an ugly win", he told TheFA.com.
"The players were disappointed with their overall performance but it has put us in a great position in the group."
With the withdrawal of striker Scott Rendell two hours before kick-off, Matt Tubbs sustaining a hamstring injury last Saturday and his initial replacement Chris Hall returning home within 24 hours after a family bereavement, Fairclough, his assistant Steve Burr and their backroom team have had an unusual few days.
"The players could have used some of these issues as an excuse", continued Fairclough.
"But they remained focused and that made me very proud tonight.
"The Welsh put us under a lot of pressure and probably should have taken the lead before we scored. But we stuck in there and took the lead with a super goal.
"Credit to Alex Lawless, their equaliser was a fantastic strike, but the most pleasing aspect of our performance was the way we responded so quickly.
"The corner was something we'd practised which is always pleasing, and once we got our noses in front, it took the wind out of their sails."
One of the Three Lions' star performers was Ebbsfleet United goalkeeper Lance Cronin (left), who three times denied Wales and Forest Green hotshot Stuart Fleetwood.
Cronin's tale is one which is largely replicated throughout the squad; a young former League club trainee who was released after five years, and who is targeting a return to League football.
England goalkeeping coach Micky Payne was pleased with his pupil's performance and believes Cronin has all the attributes required to make the step back up.
"Lance shows a willingness to listen, takes on advice and he plays with a real presence", he explained.
"He's strong, athletic and he is a 'keeper who I would describe as fast in the body and calm in the head.
"If he continues improving the way he has, I've no doubt he has a great opportunity to get back into the League."