A brace apiece for Ranger and Delfouneso does the trick.
Ranger 29, 52, Delfouneso 88, 90
UEFA European U19 Championship
Elite Qualifying Round
7pm, Friday 29 May 2009
Valley Parade, Bradford City
Click here for tournament details
England took another step closer to the European Championship Finals in Ukarine on Friday night when they comfortably saw off opposition from Slovakia to set up an final game conclusion to the Elite Round next Monday.
A brace apiece for strikers Nile Ranger, taking his tally to three goals in the last two games, and Nathan Delfouneso proved enough to give Brian Eastick's men a deserved win and set up a mouthwatering game with the Auld Enemy at Bramall Lane in three days time when it will be decided who takes their place in the last eight this July.
With Scotland beating Bosnia-Herzegovina by 3-0, it all goes down to the final game with the Auld Enemy on Monday, with the Young Lions knowing that if they avoid defeat they will be in the Finals for a second successive year by virtue of their superior goal difference.
England outlined their intentions of winning this game from the start and enjoyed the better of the possession and chances in the opening forays, with Joe Mattock shooting into the side netting from an angle after just three minutes and Victor Moses was then unfortunate to see a tidy run into the box brought to an end by a last ditch tackle on the by-line.
After 13 minutes, Danny Rose’s raking pass from within his own half picked out the onrushing Danny Drinkwater in the area but Slovakian ‘keeper Matej Rondos was out quickly to collect the ball just ahead of the Manchester United man.
England came even closer after 16 minutes, when Drinkwater’s cross from the left picked out Ranger in the box. He directed a header goalwards after beating Rondos to the ball, only to see Tomas Kosut well placed on the goal-line to clear.
Rose immediately worked the ball back out to Moses in the left channel and he waltzed around Ratislav Bakala before firing a low centre across the box, which Ranger was only inches away from turning home.
At the other end, Slovakia’s best chance came in the 28th minute when Peter Gal-Andrazy on the left placed a cross into the area but Filip Kiss headed over.
They were made to pay just one minute later, as Moses’ cross from the left picked out Ranger in the area and he made no mistake as he swivelled to shoot home his second goal in successive games.
Kiss tried his luck again in the 38th minute by hitting a free kick at goal, but England captain Jason Steele saw it all the way and made a comfortable save.
The same players went head-to-head again moments after that, when Kiss smashed a shot at goal from just inside the area, but again Steele was ready for it and made a fine stop to turn the ball over the bar.
Ranger was certainly proving a handful at the other end and when his run was brought to an end with a cynical trip 25 yards from goal, Drinkwater was unfortunate to see his resulting free kick superbly saved by Rondos.
Having fallen behind, Slovakia knew that they would have to start the second half with more attacking intent but their hopes were halted just seven minutes after the restart when Moses’ corner from the right was met firmly by the head of Ranger who powered the ball home to put the Young Lions firmly in control.
That superiority didn't last for long though as Slovakia found their way back into the game when Gal-Andrezly struck home a fierce left footer from the edge of the box to give them hope, but was then cautioned for his over-zealous celebration.
The goal brought the Slovakians to life though and they responded tactically by bringing another attacker on to supplement Arnold Simonek who had been leading the line on his own for the first hour of the game.
Ranger, by now chasing his hat-trick, nearly had a memorable treble when he shot over from another Moses corner and then saw a header from Kieran Trippier’s cross saved by Rondos at the near post.
Despite Slovakia’s more positive approach as they looked to keep their qualification hopes alive, England always looked the more likely to score, with Delfouneso, Rose, Ranger and Moses all still proving to be a rather large thorn in Slovakia’s side but the visitors held firm which meant there were always going to be a few frayed nerves as the match came to a close.
Those nerves were settled in the 88th minute though, when Moses played a corner from the left to the near post, where Delfouneso glanced it home with his head afrer losing his marker with a run across goal.
There was still time for Delfouneso to get his second too, when Rose latched onto a loose ball broke clear in the area in stoppage time before drawing the 'keeper and unselfishly squaring a pass across the six yard box, leaving the Aston Villa man with the simple task of tapping home from two yards to give England just the result that they wanted.
England: 1 Jason Steele (c), 2 Kieran Trippier, 3 Joe Mattock, 4 Matthew James, 6 Martin Kelly, 14 Gavin Hoyte, 12 Victor Moses, 8 Daniel Drinkwater (15 Dean Parrett, 88) 9 Nathan Delfouneso, 10 Nile Ranger, 11 Daniel Rose.
Substitutes not used: 5 Jordan Spence, 7 Andrew Tutte, 13 Declan Rudd, 16 Martyn Waghorn, 17 Andros Townsend, 18 Matthew Briggs.
Cautioned: Gavin Hoyte 57.
Slovakia: 1 Matej Rondos, 2 Matus Conka (16 Denis Jankovic, 76), 3 Marian Kopca (c), 4 Juraj Hovancik, 6 Marek Bohacek, 8 Peter Gal-Andrezly, 9 Robert Valenta (7 Martin Guldan, 63), 11 Tomas Kosut, 13 Arnold Simonek, 15 Filip Kiss, 17 Ratislav Bakala.
Substitutes not used: 12 Martn Polacek, 10 Jan Vlasko, 16 Denis Jankovic, 18 Igor Paldan.
Cautioned: Peter Gal-Andrezy 58, Marek Bohacek 62, Filip Kiss 83.
Referee: Mihaly Fabian
Assistant Referees: Zsolt Varga & Jose Gallego Galindo
Fourth Official: Carlos Clos Gomez