England Under-21s got back to winning ways and ended their week in Czech Republic with a hard-fought 1-0 victory against their hosts.
The Three Lions had to weather a storm of first-half physical pressure in Prague, but a goal from captain Tom Carroll soon after the restart proved enough to secure victory.
And with Gareth Southgate’s side returning here for this summer’s Euro finals, it’s another boost in confidence as the competition draws ever closer.
Czech Rep 0-1 England
U21 International Match
7.30pm, Friday 27 March
Letna Stadium, Prague
It was a real battle at times, against a strong and robust Czech side, but Southgate will be happy that his team passed the test before returning home to face another finalist in Germany on Monday.
Southgate named a side featuring seven changes from the line-up which started against France last November, as he looked to assess his options for June.
And his side controlled possession for the first five minutes, but were quickly warned of the dangers possessed by the Czechs, when a quick counter saw Ondrej Petrak cross from the right for Jaromir Zmrhal to head over.
Alex Pritchard was proving lively from the left and he did well to pick out Cauley Woodrow, who turned and shot just over the bar in the 12th minute.
Highlights of the game in Prague, which saw Gareth Southgate's side back to winning ways
The hosts had looked threatening from set pieces right from the start and Carroll was forced to clear Matej Vydra’s shot off the line when Jiri Skalak’s corner was only half-cleared to the Watford striker midway through the first period.
After England’s bright start, it was the Czechs who ended the half the better by forcing play further up the pitch and stopping any passing out from the back.
England emerged for the second half with renewed vigour and took the lead less than three minutes after the restart.
Nathan Redmond did superbly to nip between two players in midfield before poking a pass out to Calum Chambers.
His cross was only half-cleared by Czech skipper Tomas Kalas and back out into the area, where Carroll arrived to slot home.
Unfortunately, the Swansea midfielder took a knock to his ankle as he struck home so Southgate took no further risks and replaced him with Will Hughes.
And the Derby County man almost made an instant impact, skilfully skipping around a challenge in the area before pulling a pass back to Pritchard.
His shot looped off Patrizio Stronati and floated towards goal, with Pavlenka just about scrambling back to save on the line.
With an hour gone, there was a triple switch for England as Carl Jenkinson, Jesse Lingard and Danny Ings came on to replace Chambers, Pritchard and Woodrow in their respective positions.
The Czechs had seemingly lost the energy they showed in the first half and debutant goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli remained largely untroubled with only a shot from Ondrej Petrak which he watched fizz wide.
Lingard then had a great chance to secure the win with five minutes left, as Ings lifted a pass through for Redmond whose eventual cross to the far post picked out the Derby County man. He did everything right and struck a firm side-foot shot at goal only for the deftest of touches from Pavlenka to turn it wide.
And from the resulting corner, another second-half sub John Stones brought the latest impressive stop from Pavlenko, who tipped the Everton defender’s header over the bar.
Those saves could have proved decisive too, as the Czechs ended strongly by forcing a string of corners with Pavlenka himself even joining the attack.
But when Jiri Skalak missed their last chance from a direct free-kick, England could rightly celebrate that winning feeling again.
Czech Republic U21s (4-5-1): 16 Jiri Pavlenka (Banik Ostrava);14 Tomas Holes (Hradec Kralove), 3 Tomas Kalas (c) (Middlesbrough, on loan from Chelsea), 19 Patrizio Stronati (Austria Vienna), 21 Matej Hanousek (Dukla Prague); 10 Jiri Skalak (Mlada Boleslav), 8 Jaromir Zmrhal (Slavia Prague), 6 Ondrei Petrak (FC Norimberk), 20 Michal Travnik (FC Slovacko); 11 Martin Frydek (Slovan Liberec); 9 Matej Vydra (Watford).
Substitutes: 18 Lukas Masopust (FK Jablonec) for Frydek, 17 Tomas Prikryl (Dukla Prague, loan from Sparta Prague) for Vydra 71, 22 Ladislav Takacs (FK Teplice) for Petrak, 71, 7 David Houska (Sigma Olomouc) for Travnik 83.
Substitutes not used: 1 Tomas Koubek (Hradec Kralove), 23 Michal Reichl (Sigma Olomouc), 2 Jakub Jugas (Zbrojovka Brno), 4 Robert Hruby (Slavia Prague), 5 Jakub Brabec (Sparta Prague), 12 Matej Hybs (Vysocina Jihlava), 15 Jan Baranek (Viktoria Plzen).
Bookings: Michal Travnik 40
Head coach: Jakub Dovalil
England Under-21s (4-3-3): 1 Marcus Bettinelli (Fulham); 2 Calum Chambers (Arsenal), 5 Michael Keane (Burnley), 6 Liam Moore (Brentford, loan from Leicester City), 3 Matt Targett (Southampton); 8 James Ward-Prowse (Southampton), 10 Tom Carroll (c)(Swansea City, loan from Tottenham Hotspur), 4 Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton & Hove Albion); 7 Alex Pritchard (Brentford, loan from Tottenham Hotspur), 9 Cauley Woodrow (Fulham), 11 Nathan Redmond (Norwich City).
Substitutes: 12 Luke Garbutt (Everton) for Targett 46, 16 Will Hughes (Derby County) for Carroll 53, 14 Carl Jenkinson (West Ham United, loan from Arsenal) for Chambers 61, 17 Jesse Lingard (Derby County, loan from Manchester United) 61, 18 Danny Ings (Burnley) for Woodrow 62, 15 John Stones (Everton) for Moore 70
Substitutes not used: 13 Jonathan Bond
Goals: Tom Carroll 48
Bookings: Forster-Caskey 31, Nathan Redmond 58, Danny Ings 90
Head coach: Gareth Southgate
Referee: Markus Hameter (Austria)
Assistant referees: Roland Braunschmidt & Alan Kijas (both Austria)
Fourth official: Pavel Orel (Czech Republic).