England hit six to see off Macedonia
Friday, 09 October, 2009
Carroll and Hines doubles help England beat Macedonia at Coventry
Jamie Bradbury at Ricoh Arena
England were made to work hard for the three points at Coventry, but finally finished off Macedonia in a nine-goal spectacle that saw the visitors come back from behind twice.
Stuart Pearce’s side began their third Euro 2011 Group Nine Qualifier in a 3-5-2 formation, and looked to have seen off the early challenge when Kieran Gibbs and Micah Richards put them two up inside half an hour.
But the plucky Macedonians responded twice to pull level, then did it again after Andy Carroll made it 3-2..
However, when Zavon Hines, on his debut made it four, it began an onslaught of the Macedonia goal that saw Hines and Carroll both bag braces – their first goals for the Under-21s.
Macedonia started in the same vein as a month ago, and were inspired, not over-awed, by the occasion at Coventry. And the main protagonist was once again the no. 10, Agim Ibraimi, who hit their goal in the previous encounter in Prilep.
He came close on a couple of occasions, a free-kick from 25 yards that was beaten out by Loach, low to his right. Then another chance inside the area with Michael Mancienne tracking him, but the Olimpija man dragged his shot wide.
But it was The Three Lions who took the lead midway through the first half. Theo Walcott was knocked through into space inside the box. His first touch took him past goalkeeper Kristijian Naumovski to the by-line, but it was too tight for the shot.
Instead, Walcott clipped towards the far post where Gibbs was waiting to nod over the last defender and in.
They doubled their lead soon after. A corner from Wilshere was flicked on at the near post and captain Micah Richards was there with a powerful close-range header.
At 2-0, Macedonia looked shell-shocked, but just before half-time, Muarem Muarem struck a free-kick from the right that found its way past Loach to give them a glimmer of hope.
Walcott was forced off at half-time with a dead-leg, but it gave Hines, who spent a month on loan at the Ricoh Arena in 2008, the chance to win his debut.
Carroll almost toe-poked a shot home on the turn just after the break, but found the netting. He was soon to find the net, though, but not before Macedonia had levelled.
A ball into the feet of Ibraimi sent him on his way. A Mancienne slip gave the forward time and space, and he coolly knocked past Loach, despite a good attempt at the save.
But parity was only restored for 60 seconds when Gibbs showed wonderful strength on the left hand side, losing his man before crossing to the near post. Carroll beat keeper Naumovksi to the ball and flicked into the net with his head.
It was a very busy night for Gibbs, as three minutes later in his own area, a Macedonian corner was delivered from the right and the Arsenal man stretched out a leg to block the cross. He could do nothing but look on as the ball ricocheted through a crowded six-yard box beyond Loach and in to the net.
Richards and Carroll both came close to putting England back in front, but a point-blank save from Naumovski and a referee’s whistle denied them both.
Pearce reverted his team back to the familiar 4-4-2, with Hines joining Carroll in attack, and within minutes the West Ham striker justified the switch. Jack Wilshere played a short pass to Tom Cleverley and he rolled through the defence giving Hines something to run onto.
One on one, he had Carroll and Rose in support, but decided to take the shot on, and did very well, slotting past the Rabotnicki stopper to put England back in charge.
With ten minutes to go, Pearce’s men should have sealed the game. Hines wound up for a shot from 15 yards and slipped, knocking the ball into the path of Wilshere. He danced round the defence, dinking past Naumovski towards Carroll, but a boot from Dimitrovski cleared.
It fell kindly to Hines, just ten yards out and he rifled towards goal. The impressive Naumovski made another strong, close-range save forcing over the bar.
England were now camped out in the Macedonian box, knocking and knocking for a fifth. It finally came, via the boot of Carroll with four minutes to go. The Newcastle United striker was given time to turn on the penalty spot after a cross from Cleverley and he picked his spot, rolling past the stranded Naumovski and inside the post.
There was one more in the pipeline though as Macedonia crumbled. Hines again, unmarked six yards from goal was picked out by a lofted pass from Carroll and he made it look easy, tucking away for England’s sixth of the night.
1 Scott Loach, 2 Micah Richards (c), 3 Kieran Gibbs, 4 Jack Rodwell, 5 James Tomkins, 6 Michael Mancienne, 7 Tom Cleverley, 8 Jack Wilshere, 9 Andy Carroll (18 Danny Welbeck, 90), 10 Theo Walcott (16 Zavon Hines, 46), 11 Danny Rose (14 Fabrice Muamba, 69)
Subs 12 Chris Smalling, 13 Frank Fielding, 15 Junior Stanislas, 17 Daniel Sturridge
Coach Stuart Pearce
Macedonia 1 Kristijan Naumovski, 2 Daniel Georgievski, 3 Aleksandar Lazevksi (18 Ilija Nestorovski, 72), 4 Dragan Stojkov, 5 Vladimir Dimitrovski (c), 6 Goran Bogdanovic, 7 Betim Aliju, 8 Muarem Muarem, 9 Mirko Ivanovski (14 Aleksandar Stankov, 90+3), 10 Agim Ibraimi, 11 Goran Siljanovski (16 Marko Kostencovski, 64)
Subs 12 Marko Jovanovski, 13 Jani Urdinov, 15 Stefan Spirovski, 17 Sedat Berisa
Coach Boban Babunski
Match Officials (all France)
Referee Fredy Fautrel
Assistant Referees Fredji Harchay and Cyril Gringore
Fourth Official Ruddy Buquet