Harry Kane headed England Under-21s to victory over Lithuania on Friday evening.
Gareth Southgate's side had to show their patience after a testing and often frustrating night in Kaunas.
Despite dominating possession throughout and creating a number of chances, England looked set to drop points for only the second time during this Euro qualifying campaign before Kane was introduced and changed the game.
Lithuania 0-1 England
UEFA European U21 Championship
Group One Qualifier
Friday 5 September 2014
Dariaus ir Gireno Stadium, Kaunas
The Spurs striker joined the attack through the middle, providing England with an instant focal point from the front - and he helped ensure England will leave Lithuania with all three points ahead of their final group match in Moldova on Tuesday.
Before then, it had been a waiting game for the visitors, whose constant probing from midfield was often scuppered by a hungry defensive performance from Lithuania, who certainly looked more secure than when they shipped five goals against the Three Lions in Ipswich last October.
And while the hosts had their moments, there could be no complaints at the final outcome on a crisp evening at the Dariaus ir Gireno Stadium.
It was actually Lithuania who had the first chance after 15 minutes though, when Jack Butland’s clearance put Ben Gibson under pressure but England were let off as Justinas Janusevskij fired over the bar from an angle.
The visitors responded and a low cross from Nathan Redmond flashed in front of goal but Saido Berahino’s shot from close range was turned over the bar by Tomas Svedkauskas in the 18th minute.
England’s best chance of the first half fell to James Ward-Prowse just seven minutes before the break, when Tom Carroll slipped a pass into the area for him, but the Southampton midfielder’s shot flew past the far post.
Moments after, the hosts almost took the lead when England failed to clear a cross from Tomas Birskys on the right. Lukas Baranauskas turned a bobbly shot towards goal which beat Butland, but Nathaniel Chalobah was well placed on the line to clear the danger.
With no changes at the break, Southgate’s charges looked to repay their manager’s faith and they started the second half strongly.
Berahino latched onto Luke Garbutt’s pass into the box to force a save from Svedkauskas with a drilled shot and the West Brom striker found himself in the same position moments later only to see the same outcome.
Redmond then worked some space in the box and after knocking the ball past Svedkauskas, was denied by a defender on the line.
Lithuania still had their moments and Lukas Baranauskas had Butland scrambling across his line when he turned and struck a snap-shot just wide of the post.
Tom Ince was then inches away from opening the scoring shortly after the hour mark, when he couldn’t quite stretch to turn home Garbutt’s low cross from the left.
Unfortunately for England, second-half cautions for both Chalobah and Ward-Prowse mean the midfield pair will miss Tuesday’s game in Tiraspol through suspension after collecting their second bookings in qualifying.
Watch highlights of the game in Kaunas
They didn’t let that affect them, though, and England continued to get closer and closer as Redmond saw a volley bounce off the turf and onto the cross bar after Kane had flicked on Berahino’s cross from the left.
The breakthrough finally came with just nine minutes remaining, when Ward-Prowse’s cross from the right picked out Kane in the middle and the Spurs man rose highest to crash a header past Svedkauskas and set England on their way to victory.
Lithuania Under-21s (4-5-1): 1 Tomas Svedkauskas (C); 23 Rolandas Baravykas, 15 Justinas Janusevskij, 6 Tomas Snapkauskas, 8 Vilmantas Bagdanavicius; 18 Edgaras Baranauskas; 7 Ernestas Veliulis 11 Ovidijus Verbickas, 16 Tomas Birskys; 20 Dovydas Norvilas; 19 Lukas Baranauskas.
Substitutes: 21 Martynas Dapkus for Verbickas (75), 5 Mindaugas Grigaravicius for Birskys (80), 13 Edvardas Tamulevicius for Verbickas (84).
Substitutes not used: 3 Justas Raziunas, 9 Tomas Salamanavicius, 12 Edvinas Gertmonas (GK).
Cautions: 5 Mindaugas Grigaravicius (88)
England Under-21s (4-3-3): 1 Jack Butland (C; Stoke City); 2 Michael Keane (Burnley, loan), 5 Liam Moore (Leicester City), 6 Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough), 3 Luke Garbutt (Everton); 8 James Ward-Prowse (Southampton), 10 Tom Carroll (Swansea, loan), 4 Nathanial Chalobah (Burnley, loan); 7 Tom Ince (Hull City), 9 Saido Berahino (West Bromwich Albion), 11 Nathan Redmond (Norwich City).
Substitutes: 17 Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) for Gibson (64), 16 Alex Pritchard (Brentford, loan) for Redmond (79), 14 Will Hughes (Derby County) for Ince (80).
Substitutes not used: 12 Tyler Blackett (Manchester United), 13 Jonathan Bond (Watford), 15 Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton & Hove Albion), 18 Jamaal Lascelles (Nottingham Forest, loan).
Head Coach: Gareth Southgate
Goals: Harry Kane (81)
Cautions: Nathaniel Chalobah (57), James Ward-Prowse (74)
Referee: Vlado Glodjović (SRB)
Assistant referees: Vladimir Jovanović (SRB) & Dejan Potoćan (SRB)