16-year-old Theo Walcott scored on his U19s debut in a fantastic win for Martin Hunter's side.
7.00pm, Tuesday 28 February 2006
Northampton Town FC
At a packed Sixfields Stadium, and playing on a perfect playing surface, Theo Walcott kick started his Under-19 career with a goal and a fine overall performance.
With two earlier goals from Moses Ashikodi and captain Lee Holmes it was a perfect night in Northampton. There was drama in the build up to Walcott's goal though; with eleven minutes to goal Walcott was brought down in the box and England were awarded a penalty.
Walcott stepped up but his effort was brilliantly saved by Hrosso in the Slovakian goal. The referee however saw encroachment by Slovakian defenders and the spot kick was to be retaken.
Showing nerves of steel, Walcott stepped up again and scored England's third to cap a night of brilliant football from England's young team.
England can now look forward to the UEFA European Championship qualifiers in May with real confidence and a growing number of exciting players proving themselves against difficult opposition.
England Under-19s Head Coach Martin Hunter felt that his team took their time to find their feet, commenting: "It was a bit of a stuttering start from the lads but as the game went on they got better and better.
"I think that the gap between this game and the last one was evident early on, but the time we have spent here will stand us in good stead looking ahead to May.
"We have been able to get a good look at 17 players and I am pleased with what I have seen from every one of them.
"Lee took his goal superbly and when you look at his record through the youth teams he has scored almost a goal every game - that is brilliant for a midfielder."
Martin was also pleased with goalscoring debutant Theo Walcott, who, on another night, could have scored two or three goals.
"He played very well and could have had a couple more but for some terrific goalkeeping; with his pace and ability he'll only get better and better.
"Playing in games like tonight is part and parcel of his development, we asked him to play a little differently and he adapted well.
"He played up front with Lee Holmes playing just behind him and they both showed some great touches. It was a terrific performance from all the players though, particularly when you look at the save that Joe Lewis made at 1-0 - it could have been a different game."
England tested the Slovakian goalkeeper to the limit, although in the early exchanges he was up to the challenge. From a free-kick by Jimmy Smith, Tom Clarke glanced a superb header towards the back post that seemed goalbound.
Only a phenomenal save from Lukas Hrosso denied Clarke the opening goal, with his firm outrstretched arm clawing the ball away from the net.
With just three minutes of the first half remaining though it was captain marvel with a superb effort from almost 30 yards. Taking a bouncing ball in his stride, Lee Holmes spotted the keeper of his line and hit a stunning shot that put England into a deserved lead.
For all their dominance England were almost pegged back after the break, but Erik Grendel was denied by a fingertip save from substitute keeper Joe Lewis.
With second half goals from substitute Moses Ashikodi and Theo Walcott, it wrapped up a comfortable night for the Young Lions.
In the closing moments it was comfortable for Martin Hunter's team, and you can catch all the highlights by logging on to TheFA.com in the coming days.
England: Joe Hart (Shrewsbury Town) (Joe Lewis (Norwich City) 45), Nathan Doyle (Notts County on loan), Scott Golbourne (Reading) (Nathan Ashton (Charlton Athletic) 45), Jimmy Smith (Chelsea) (Gavin Rothery (Leeds United) 65), David Wheater (Middlesbrough), Tom Clarke (Huddersfield Town) (Simon Walton (Leeds United) 45), Nathan Dyer (Southampton) (Lionel Ainsworth (Derby County) 60), Anthony Grant (Chelsea), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Lee Holmes (Derby County) (Moses Ashikodi 65), Adam Johnson (Middlesbrough)
Slovakia: Lukas Hrosso, Roma Tarek, Martin Belanik (Matej Kosicky), Mikulas Toth, Milos Simoncic, Thomas Dubek, Juraj Piroska (Marek Bajza 76) , Patrik Mraz (Lubos Hanzel 64), Lukas Dzogan, Erik Grendel, Anton Koncitik,
Referee: M Thorpe