Men's Under 21s
Men's Under 21s

Goals from Eddie Nketiah and Sam Surridge cancelled out as Young Lions tie in Maribor

Friday 11 Oct 2019
Tom Davies and Eddie Nketiah look to win the ball back in Maribor

England MU21s had to settle for a 2-2 draw in Slovenia, after a late fightback saw the Young Lions lose a two-goal lead in Maribor.

A first-half penalty from Eddie Nketiah and a goal for Sam Surridge on his international debut had put Aidy Boothroyd’s team in control.

But the Young Lions head coach will not have been pleased to see that lead evaporate in the final ten minutes, after a largely dominant performance from England had kept Slovenia at arm’s length.

England had controlled the first half, with 70 per cent of the possession, but only had one goal to show for it at the break.

Phil Foden came close in the opening exchanges, as his rising shot was tipped over the bar by Slovenian keeper Ziga Frelih.

And there was a good opportunity midway through the half when England won a free-kick on the edge of the area, but with both Foden and Callum Hudson-Odoi over it, the latter’s eventual shot hit the wall.

But with half time on the horizon, the Young Lions took a deserved lead as Nketiah was felled in the box after a robust challenge from behind by Zan Zaletal.

The Leeds United loanee picked himself up to slot home the penalty and give England a deserved lead at the break.

The MU21s' starting line-up in Maribor

That proved to be Nketiah’s last action of the night, as Boothroyd switched things at the break by introducing four substitutes, including Surridge.

And the striker had a night to remember as he notched in the 71st minute, converting Jon Panzo’s cross at the near post after his Swansea team-mate and fellow sub Ben Wilmot had seen a header crash back off the post.

But Slovenia were gifted a lifeline with less than ten minutes to go when Aaron Ramsdale’s pass out to the left was intercepted, before the ball was whipped back into the area for Dejan Petrovic to thump home.

That gave the hosts hope and put them firmly on the front foot, so when a long ball over the top caused confusion between Panzo and Ramsdale, there was a collision on the edge of the area and the free-kick went Slovenia’s way.

Janez Pisak stepped up, with his shot taking a deflection off the wall and sneaking past Ramsdale on the line to rescue a draw.

England will now head back home where they will resume their U21 EURO qualifying campaign against Austria in Milton Keynes.

TICKETS: ENGLAND U21S V AUSTRIA

England: 1 Aaron Ramsdale (AFC Bournemouth), 2 Max Aarons (Norwich City), 3 Jon Panzo (Cercle Bruges, loan from Monaca), 5 Lloyd Kelly (AFC Bournemouth), 6 Tom Davies (Everton) (c ), 7 Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea), 8 Joe Willock (Arsenal), 9 Eddie Nketiah (Leeds United, loan from Arsenal), 10 Phil Foden (Manchester City), 15 Marc Guehi (Chelsea), 20 Dwight McNeil (Burnley)

Substitutes: 14 Ben Wilmot (Swansea City, loan from Watford) for Aarons 46, 18 James Justin (Leicester City) for McNeil 46, 23 Sam Surridge (Swansea City, loan from AFC Bournemouth) for Nketiah 46, 19 Rhian Brewster (Liverpool) for Hudson-Odoi 46, 16 Oliver Skipp (Tottenham Hotspur) for Foden 63, 12 Omar Richards (Reading) for Kelly 63, 21 Conor Gallagher (Charlton Athletic, loan from Chelsea) for Willock 63

Substitutes not used: 13 Brandon Austin (Tottenham Hotspur, 22 Ellery Balcombe (Viborg, loan from Brentford)

Head coach: Aidy Boothroyd

Goals: Eddie Nketiah 39 (Pen), Sam Surridge 71

By Nicholas Veevers