Goals from Danny Rose and Nile Ranger enough to see off Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Rose 40, Ranger 85
UEFA European U19 Championship
Elite Qualifying Round
7pm, Wednesday 27 May 2009
Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster
Click here for tournament details
England made the perfect start in their Elite Qualifying Round on Wednesday night, dispatching a determined and dogged Bosnia-Herzegovina team with a goal in each half at the Keepmoat Stadium.
The visitors put up a tough barrier for most of the game and it took a fine opening goal from Doncaster-born Danny Rose to set the Young Lions on their way with a terrific header, before Nile Ranger sealed the three points in the later stages with a second headed goal.
Head Coach Brian Eastick had spoken before the game about the importance of winning the first game in a tournament like this and it was obvious from the start that England would have to be patient against a resilient Bosnia side who were more than willing to soak up pressure and look to hit their hosts on the counter attack.
England started the game well though, keeping some good early possession whilst troubling the Bosnian back line with their incisive passing. A good link-up between Kieran Trippier and Danny Drinkwater set up a shooting opportunity for Andrew Tutte, which flew just over the bar after five minutes and then Trippier crossed from the right for Nathan Delfouneso in the ninth minute only to see the striker head over.
A neat piece of skill in the 19th minute saw Rose create some space for himself 25 yards from goal and he was unfortunate to see his dippng shot whizz narrowly over the bar.
England came even closer in the 25th minute when Rose’s free kick delivery from the left evaded the entire Bosnian defence, but no fewer than three England players were inches away from connecting themselves before the ball eventually drifted wide.
The Young Lions were denied by the woodwork in the 28th minute, when Tutte’s cross from the right was only half cleared as far as Matthew James. He instinctively hooked a shot at goal which looped over goalkeeper Mato Masic only to bounce back off the bar.
With Bosnia playing with just captain Haris Handzic up front on his own, they looked to stifle England’s attacks and take advantage on the break when possession was squandered by the hosts. On a couple of occasions, they almost managed to do that but England were just sharp enough to protect Jason Steele in goal.
England eventually broke them down though, when Delfouneso did superbly on the right to beat Miroslav Stavanovic before chipping a cross to the far post where Rose leapt highest to plant home a firm header back across goal and into the net to give his side a deserved half time lead.
That goal forced Bosnia to show a little more attacking intent after the restart and they had their best chance in the 49th minute when Handzic played the ball to Anes Haudic in space on the left but he fired his first time shot high and wide of the target.
They then came even closer just short of the hour mark when Edin Visca robbed the ball off substitute Victor Moses before crashing an angled shot into the side netting.
At the other end, a lovely reverse pass from James picked out Delfouneso in the area and after twisting his marker twice, his low left-footer rolled narrowly wide of the post.
It took a stunning save from Steele in the 70th minute to keep England’s lead in tact though when Gadzo’s free kick from 25 yards looked to be heading into the top corner until the Middlesbrough man leapt at full stretch to turn it over the bar.
As the game approached its closing stages, it was England doing most of the attacking though and they should have wrapped it all up in the 78th minute when Moses played a pass to Trippier on the right. His centre was perfect for Nile Ranger but the big striker miscued his header and the chance was gone.
Moses then traded passes with Delfouneso before striking a shot at goal, which was deflected over the bar by a desperate lunge from Nermin Bicakcic.
The win was secured with five minutes left though, when Joe Mattock was fouled on the left to win a free kick. Moses stepped up and swung over a perfect ball for Ranger to nod home and give the Young Lions their opening victory.
A clean sheet was still important though and Steele made a second fine save to again deny Gadzo, whose free kick came through a crowd of bodies only to be superbly gathered by the England stopper in the dying moments.
England: 1 Jason Steele, 2 Kieran Trippier, 3 Joe Mattock, 4 Matthew James, 5 Jordan Spence (c), 6 Martin Kelly, 7 Andrew Tutte (12 Victor Moses, 59) 8 Daniel Drinkwater, 9 Nathan Delfouneso (16 Marytn Waghorn, 89) 10 Nile Ranger, 11 Daniel Rose (15 Dean Parrett, 82)
Substitutes not used: 13 Declan Rudd, 14 Gavin Hoyte, 17 Andros Townsend, 18 Matthew Briggs.
Bosnia: 1 Mato Masic, 3 Edin Visca, 13 Nermin Bicakcic, 5 Toni Markic, 6 Dragan Dakovic, 2 Anes Haurdic, 9 Enis Sadikovic, 10 Ivan Rezdeusek (15 Eldar Hasanovic, 46) 11 Ermin Gadzo, 8 Miroslav Stevanovic (18 Ante Pinjuh, 88) 17 Haris Handzic (c), (16 Dalibor Pandza, 57).
Substitutes not used:12 Semir Bukvic, 4 Semir Cilic, 14 Pavo Zivkovic.
Referee: Albert Toussant
Assistant Referees: Zsolt Varga & Marco Tropeano
Fourth Official: Mihaly Fabian