Danny Rose scored the only goal as England beat Azerbaijan despite Victor Moses' early sending-off.
Azerbaijan 0-1 England
UEFA European U17 Championship
Leeds striker Danny Rose was England's hero after the young Lions edged past Azerbaijan despite having to play with ten men from the seventh minute.
Elite Qualifying Round
25 March 2008
The on-form front man was on target against Bosnia two days earlier and pounced after 48 minutes to hand England back-to-back wins.
"The players did a super job," said Head Coach John Peacock. "Considering we were a man down, we played with a lot of authority. We had more possession, had more attacks and created more chances."
Peacock was forced to tear up his plans just minutes into the game when Victor Moses was shown a straight red card for a late tackle.
The sending-off completed a double dose of bad luck as just two minutes earlier, Peacock was forced into substituting Joe Mattock who was the victim of a vicious tackle that warranted more than the yellow card it received. Dan Gosling joined the fray while Mattock was taken to hospital for an X-ray.
"We had a game plan but we had to change things," explained Peacock. "We went 3-4-2 as we wanted to take the game to them, and that proved the right thing to do."
But England held firm, limiting their opponents to few chances. On the one occasion Jason Steele was called upon, just before the break, the Middlesbrough stopper kept Azerbaijan at bay after a goalmouth scramble threatened to conclude a difficult half for Peacock's troops.
The Head Coach brought on Rhys Murphy at half-time and it was a move which was to pay rich dividends when the Arsenal forward was involved in the only goal of the game eight minutes after the restart.
Rose played the ball into Murphy on the edge of the box but, with the Azerbaijan defender felling the half-time sub, the Leeds forward reacted quickest as the referee played advantage to pick up the loose ball before slotting home from six yards.
"It was an excellent goal," said Peacock. "That's his second goal in two games now. We have been delighted with how he has played. He's dominating games from midfield."
England managed to hold on without too many concerns and will now play Serbia & Montenegro in a winner-takes-all clash on Wednesday.
Serbia, who beat Bosnia 2-0 to join England on six points, will go through to the European Championships if they draw by virtue of having a better goal difference.
England: Steele, Ofori-Twumasi, Mattock (Gosling 5), Spence, Rose, Plummer, Moses, Porritt (Murphy 41), Taiwo, Franks (Lansbury 65), Pearce.
Subs not used: Amos, Smith, Welbeck, Woods.
Goals: Rose 48