England U19s made it three wins from three in Euro qualifying, as a Jadon Sancho goal was enough to beat Bulgaria.
Both Paul Simpson’s side and their hosts went into the game knowing that the winner of Wednesday's final game would top their group table, after victories in their opening games against Faroe Islands and Iceland.
- UEFA European U19 Championship
- First Qualifying Round
- Tuesday 14 November
- Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
And with top spot affecting the seeding for December’s Elite Round draw at UEFA HQ in Nyon, a fiercely competitive game ensued.
It was England who drew first blood too, with what turned out to be the winner after just 11 minutes.
It started with skipper Mason Mount’s raking pass from midfield picking out Reece James’ bursting run down the right.
With the ball almost out of play, the Chelsea defender managed to wrap his foot around it on the by-line to cross for Sancho in the box. The Borussia Dortmund man did the rest by heading home from close range to register his first goal for the U19s.
The Young Lions almost doubled their lead just after the half-hour mark when Josh Tymon’s cross from the left picked out Mount at the far post only for Dimirar Sheytanov to make a great save.
In the second half, Bulgaria began to push for an equaliser, often leaving England with a chance to hit them on the break but it was largely Simpson’s side in control of the ball for longer spells.
And substitute Ben Brereton had the best chance to add a second but the Nottingham Forest striker was denied by another brave block from Sheytanov after breaking into the box.
Despite more late pressure from the hosts, England held on to take the points and will now await their fate at the Elite Round stage next March.
England: 13 Ellery Balcombe (Brentford); 2 Reece James (Chelsea), 6 Trevoh Chalobah (Chelsea), 20 Morgan Feeney (Everton), 18 Josh Tymon (Stoke City); 12 Dujon Sterling (Chelsea), 14 Mason Mount (Vitesse Arnhem, loan from Chelsea), 10 Elliot Embleton (Sunderland), 19 Marcus Tavernier (Middlesbrough); 11 Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), 9 Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal)
Substitutes: 17 Ben Brereton (Nottingham Forest) for Embleton 59, 8 Joe Willock (Arsenal) for Nketiah 59, 15 Dennis Adeniran (Everton) for Tavernier 69
Substitutes not used: 1 Ryan Schofield (Huddersfield Town), 3 Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham), 4 Flynn Downes (Ipswich Town), 5 Japhet Tanganga (Tottenham Hotspur), 7 Reiss Nelson (Arsenal), 16 George Hirst (Sheffield Wednesday)
Head coach: Paul Simpson
Goals: Jadon Sancho 11
Cautions: Dujon Sterling 53