Wickham winner for Young Lions
England's U21s will head into the Euro play-offs on a high after a solitary effort from Connor Wickham saw them edge out Norway.
Last Updated: 11/09/12 8:03am
England's U21s will head into the 2013 European Championship play-offs on a high after a solitary effort from Connor Wickham saw them edge out Norway.
A 1-0 victory at Chesterfield's Proact Stadium over their nearest challengers ensured that the Young Lions finished top of Group Eight.
Both sides were, however, already assured of a play-off berth heading into the game, with other results going their way.
It was, however, important for Stuart Pearce's side to pick up a win and ensure they that will be seeded in the draw - handing them a theoretically easier passage to the finals.
Pearce made five changes from the side that started Thursday's 2-0 win over Azerbaijan.
Jason Steele returned in goal after missing out through illness in Baku, meaning Ben Amos replaced Declan Rudd on the bench.
Ryan Bennett came in at centre-half for the suspended Craig Dawson while midfielder Ben Marshall made his full debut in place of the injured Jason Lowe.
Wickham and Martyn Waghorn were preferred in attack ahead of Wilfred Zaha and Marvin Sordell, who were both among the substitutes.
Waghorn saw a thunderous left-foot shot pushed away by Norway goalkeeper Arild Ostbo in the sixth minute before Bennett headed over from the resulting corner.
Tom Ince looked like he would put England ahead when he sneaked in between the Norwegian defence and keeper on the half-hour mark.
The Blackpool midfielder managed to clip the ball goalwards past Ostbo but it rolled off target.
Wickham showed Ince how it was done after 43 minutes.
The Sunderland striker latched onto a defensive mistake and, bearing down on goal, tucked away his chance well from close-range.
It was the 19-year-old's first goal since October last year.
Norway started to come into the game after half-time and substitute Yann-Erik de Lanlay shot narrowly wide on the hour and ten minutes later Nielsen rattled Steele's crossbar.
Norway almost caught England out again in the 73rd minute. Omar Elabdellaoui broke clear and flicked the ball wide to Mushaga Bakenga but his cross-shot was diverted over for a corner.
With nine minutes remaining, a strike at goal from Harmeet Singh 25-yards out had Steele stretching but the Middlesbrough keeper grabbed the ball at the second attempt.
Man of the match Danny Rose joined Shelvey in collecting a needless yellow card after kicking the ball away as England withstood some more late pressure to hold on for the win.