Perfect three for Lions
Friday, 26 October, 2012
England U17s complete Euro Qualifiers with three wins from three
England U17s completed the First Qualifying Round for Euro 2013 with a perfect record of three wins from three against Northern Ireland on Friday, to take their place in the Elite Round next March.
John Peacock's squad had already secured qualification following Tuesday's win over Wales, so knew that avoiding defeat against the Ulstermen would be enough to secure top spot in the group.
And goals from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and a brace from skipper Bryn Morris proved to be enough in a cold and snowy Tallinn.
The weather itself had an effect on the fixture, with a venue change and earlier kick-off arranged in order to avoid the snow-fall forecasted for later in the day.
The Young Lions started the game well too, with Callum Jones hitting the woodwork in the early stages after connecting with Seyi Ojo's corner.
But it was Northern Ireland who opened the scoring against the run of play when Jamie McDonagh put his side ahead in the 18th minute.
That prompted England back into life though and Chelsea midfielder Loftus-Cheek levelled things up with an excellent header from Ojo's cross just a minute before the break.
Liverpool starlet Ojo played his part in the second goal too, as his excellent run forward was brought to an end in the box and Middlesbrough man Morris stepped up to put his side ahead from the penalty spot in the 56th minute.
Ten minutes later and England extended their lead, as substitute George Green played through Morris and he made no mistake to provide a two goal advantage.
Northern Ireland were far from finished though and McDonagh added his second of the game with just less than ten minutes remaining to set up a grandstand finish.
And McDonagh almost completed his hat-trick to earn a draw for his team with a free-kick in stoppage time which came crashing back off the bar.
But the victory was nothing less than Peacock's side deserved and they will now await their Elite Round fate when the draw takes place in Switzerland in early December.