Everton's James Vaughan scored a dramatic injury-time winner to hand England a 3-2 win over Switzerland.
England U19 v Switzerland
International U19 Friendly
7.30pm, 14 November 2006
Gresty Road, Crewe Alexandra FC
Super sub James Vaughan came to England's rescue when he headed home an injury-time winner to finally sink the Swiss.
Vaughan has a knack of scoring headline grabbing goals - the young striker is the Premier League's youngest scorer - and he saved England's blushes on a wet Tuesday night at Crewe.
With a number of fans filing out of the sodden stadium, Vaughan rose highest to nod home Michael Johnson's excellent cross.
It was no more than England deserved, but after a largely lacklustre second half, it looked like the Swiss might grab a share of the spoils.
England made the perfect start when they took the lead in the fifth minute with a goal made in Liverpool but scored in Crewe.
Paul Anderson, the Reds winger, headed Yann Sommer's poor goalkick towards Anfield team-mate Craig Lindfield on the edge of the box. Spotting a clever run from Adam Hammill, Lindfield deftly headed through for his team-mate who slotted home.
But the old adage that you are at your most vulnerable when you have just scored rang true just three minutes later, much to the displeasure of the 4,909 crowd packed into the main stand.
Frank Feltscher ghosted past Ryan Bertrand on the left flank before delivering a low cross which skipped across the greasy surface to Daniel Pavlovic. The Freiberg flier swept home with consummate ease.
But England responded to take the lead for a second time. Hogan Ephraim, West Ham's young box of tricks, collected Lindfield's clever flick on the left flank before cutting in and drilling low past Sommer from the edge of the box with a cultered swing of his orange boot.
The slippery surface made tackling a real test of judgement, with a number players, particularly the visitors, launching into ambitious slides in an often futile attempt to win the ball. Even Manchester City boss Stuart Pearce, not shy of a crunching challenge in his playing days, would have winced as he looked on.
For the visitors, Feltscher looked the most dangerous as he gallantly charged down the right flank. One adventurous run, in the 25th minute, almost hauled Switzerland level but having got clear of Bertrand, he pulled his shot wide of David Button in the England goal.
Hammill was enjoying plenty of space on the left and Michael Mancienne, the cultured Chelsea defender, had little problem finding him with a succession of long-range passes from deep.
England looked potent in attack with Hammill and Ephraim willing runners, while Switzerland were restricted to long-range efforts. One rather erratic try from Simone Grippo, on 40 minutes, soared high over the stand behind Button's goal and into Gresty Road.
The hosts almost scored a third on the stroke of half-time when Ephraim picked out Seb Hines with a accurate free-kick but the Middlesbrough defender headed just wide.
In stark contrast to the opening exchanges of the first half, the start of the second period was rather sedate with England Coach Brian Eastick using all of his seven substitutes.
One notable entrant was Vaughan, but the young Toffeeman struggled to rouse England from their second half slumber and Switzerland capitalised on 66 minutes.
After England had lost possession cheaply, Eren Derdiyock ran through unopposed before drilling past the exposed Jamie Annerson, the ball cannoning in off the far post.
Any momentum the hosts had before half-time was slowly being washed away in the November rain which steadily fell from the first whistle.
Both teams could have scored a third during a frantic 60 second period. First Vaughan headed over from close range then moments later at the other end, substitute Bekim Halimi, in the clear, homed in on goal only for Annerson to make a tremendous block.
Adam Lallana, the fleet-footed Saint, almost made an immediate impact after coming on as a late substitute. Receiving a short corner, Lallana jinked his way through a few challenges before shooting at the near post where Sommer saved.
But England were indebted to another substitute, Vaughan, for his late intervention.
England: Button (Tottenham Hotspur, Annerson, Sheffield United, 46 mins), Little (Wolverhampton Wanderers, Omazusi, Fulham, 46 mins), Bertrand (Chelsea, on loan at Bournemouth), Muamba (Arsenal, on loan at Birmingham City, Jarvis, Norwich City, 55 mins), Hines (Middlesbrough), Mancienne (Chelsea, on loan at QPR), Anderson (Liverpool, Hewson, Manchester United 71 mins), Johnson (Manchester City), Lindfield (Liverpool, Vaughan, Everton 55 mins), Ephraim (West Ham, Gooding, Coventry City, 86 mins), Hammill (Liverpool, Lallana, Southampton, 79 mins).
Switzerland: Sommer, Staubli, Elmer, Mollet, Redzepi (Djuric, 46 mins), Tavares, Feltscher (Stocker 85 mins), Pavlovic (Schneuwly 46 mins), Derdiyock, Grippo (Schilling 85), Klinger (Halimi 58 mins).
Subs not used: Fickentscher, Berardi.
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Assistants: Mark Astley and Adam Watts
Fourth Official: David Richardson