Five star England cruise to victory
Tuesday, 11 August, 2009
Young Lions smash five past Montenegro in World Cup send off.
Nicholas Veevers at the Hawthorns
To watch highlights of the match, click on the play icon in the media player
England’s final preparation for next month’s FIFA U20 World Cup in Egypt saw them pick up a convincing win over Montenegro at the Hawthorns on Tuesday and it was a game in which victory never really looked in doubt.
Manchester United duo Febian Brandy and Tom Cleverley got a brace apiece before substitute Tope Obadeyi added a late fifth, but it really could have been an even more emphatic scoreline had England made their opportunities and territorial dominance count.
With tough games against the likes of Ghana and Uruguay to come for Brian Eastick’s men in Egypt, it was just a matter of getting some time on the pitch together and whilst they may only have been up against limited opponents, it was a confident and slick display from England throughout.
On a balmy night in the West Midlands, England started with a good tempo and they could have been ahead in just the fourth minute, when Hal Robson-Kanu neatly worked his way onto a Jack Cork through-ball and into the box but his angled finish went just wide of the far post.
They had an even better chance two minutes later when defender Koprivica Mijodrag inexplicably handled Ross Jenkins’ cross to give away a penalty. Cleverley confidently stepped up, but goalkeeper Giljen Vladan guessed right and made a fine save low to his right.
Jenkins then tested Vladan himself with a low shot from the edge of the box, when Montenegro could only half clear a corner but the keeper was again well placed to make a good save.
England had the lead they deserved in the 13th minute though, when another fluent move down the right saw Javan Vidal slip a pass into the box and when Brandy beat the offside trap, he finished well past Vladan with a low shot.
Brandy then turned provider in the 20th minute, when he robbed the ball off Milos M Radulovic thirty yards from goal before picking out the lively Marc Albrighton, whose powerful shot flew just wide of the target.
At the other end, Declan Rudd was forced into his first meaningful action of the evening in the 34th minute when Milos M Radulovic struck a powerful free-kick at goal but the England goalkeeper was more than equal to it and made a comfortable save.
Robson-Kanu then came close with a right-footer as half time drew near, following a fine run down the left by Joe Bennett after exchanging a swift one-two with Cleverley.
England capped their dominance of the first half on the stroke of half time, when Bennett’s darting run down the left saw him chip a ball back into the area and when Brandy connected with a full volley, he almost broke the net.
Eastick made two changes at the break, with Jenkins and Albrighton replaced by Adam Clayton and Jordan Henderson in midfield and just three minutes after the re-start, the Young Lions added another to their tally as a ball was threaded through to Cleverley on the left hand side of the area and he comfortably slid a shot under Vladan and into the bottom corner.
Montenegro still posed a threat though and Rudd again had to be sharp to keep out Banda Sead’s snap shot in the 66th minute.
Brandy was then inches away from completing his hat-trick in the 75th minute, as Obadeyi’s cross into the box zipped just in front of his outstretched foot.
England added another to make it four with eight minutes left, when Cleverley got his second of the night by skilfully finding some space for himself before curling a low shot into the bottom corner of the goal.
The scoring was then completed when Obadeyi broke through the middle before applying a deft finish with his left foot to leave the Hawthorns crowd happy with their night's football and England ready for the challenges that lie ahead in Egypt.