Lions leave it late
Monday, 01 October, 2012
Hallam Hope's added time goal secures top spot for England U19s
There was late drama in Tallinn for England U19s on Monday afternoon, as an injury time equaliser from striker Hallam Hope ensured the Young Lions topped their Euro qualifying table above Ukraine.
Both sides had already qualified for next spring's Elite Round coming into this game after winning their first two fixtures against hosts Estonia and Faroe Islands over the last five days.
So it was down to the last match between England and Ukraine to decide who would top the group and secure an all-important seeded place in December's draw for the next round, just one step short of the Finals in Lithuania in July.
And it looked as though Noel Blake's side had been pipped to top-spot as Ukraine took a late lead through substitute Vladyslav Pavlenko in the 88th minute after England had enjoyed the better of the proceedings prior to that.
England never gave up though and were rewarded with a leveller in the fourth minute of stoppage time, when Everton hitman Hope got on the end of Blair Turgott's free-kick to finish well and fire home an equaliser to see his side back on top of the group by virtue of goal difference.
It was nothing less than the Young Lions had deserved, after enjoying the better of the chances throughout the game only to find Ukrainian goalkeeper Bogdan Sarnavskiy in fine form.
He denied Manchester City ace Jordie Hiwula-Mayifuila on a number of occasions before the break to keep his side in it, before Olexiy Khoblenko hit the woodwork at the other end.
That inspired his side into a second-half improvement and it took some brave defending from the Young Lions to keep them at bay before the late goal saw big celebrations from Ukraine.
But they hadn't counted on the English spirit, as Blake's team hit back to collect the point they deserved and secure their place on top of the group table.