World Cup: Lucky England escape Poland with 1-1 draw
England were fortunate to escape Poland with a 1-1 draw thanks to Wayne Rooney's first-half effort.
Last Updated: 18/10/12 6:50am
After Tuesday's postponement, Wayne Rooney snatched an undeserved first-half lead on a heavy pitch - but the visitors had to hold on in the end once Kamil Glik had finally converted Polish pressure.
The hosts were first to threaten - Kamil Grosicki failing to make a purposeful connection with Jakub Wawrzyniak's seventh-minute pull-back, and Joe Hart had to be out quickly to deny Lukasz Piszczek soon after.
Robert Lewandowski lashed across the face of goal before England took the lead in the 31st minute when Rooney got across his man to shoulder in Steven Gerrard's corner from six yards.
Grosicki was again wasteful in skewing an inspired scooped pass from Lewandowski wide of the near post before the break, and two minutes into the second period it took a last-ditch tackle from Glen Johnson to excuse a Phil Jagielka miscue.
Ludovic Obraniak twice went close as the one-way traffic continued - forcing Hart to tip over and then thrashing a shot into a crowd of England defenders, and Piszczek found the side-netting from a tight angle before the hour.
England passed up two chances to make the game safe as Jermain Defoe miscued badly from a clever set-piece move and Rooney cleared the bar from Danny Welbeck's lay-off, and Poland finally levelled with 20 minutes left.
Obraniak swung over the corner and Glik beat Joleon Lescott and the on-rushing Hart to glance home, and England were grateful to see out the remaining 20 minutes without conceding again.
The game had eventually got under way 20 hours late after a waterlogged pitch caused the original game to be postponed last night.
This time the retractable roof was closed and ensured the match could finally be played, although the surface cut up quite significantly in parts.
Hodgson opted to persevere with the line-up he originally selected for the game with skipper Gerrard and left-back Ashley Cole winning their 99th caps.
There were several hundred England fans inside the stadium although the postponement inevitably mean a sizeable proportion of the 2,500 supporters who made the original trip had returned home.
England began on the offensive and James Milner made a powerful run into the Poland box from a Gerrard knockdown.
His deep cross picked out the run of Tom Cleverley, who struck his volley cleanly enough but saw it bounce off Lukasz Piszczek to safety.
Polish midfielder Eugen Polanski became the first player to be booked in the 11th minute for bringing down Defoe.
Poland exploited space down their right flank and Joe Hart had to be alert to clear the ball away from the feet of Piszczek after he attempted to make contact with a pass from Grosicki.
Home skipper Marcin Wasilewski had to be alert to get in front of Defoe at the near post as he tried to take advantage of a low Milner ball into the danger area.
Poland seriously threatened for the first time when a poor clearance by Hart fell straight to Grosicki. He released Lewandowski, who skipped past the challenge of Cleverley and into the penalty area before firing a cross-shot past the far post.
Rooney silenced the home crowd with his header after 31 minutes when he reacted first to Gerrard's corner and glanced a header past Poland goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton into the corner of the net, via the shoulder of Piszczek.
Cole picked up his first yellow card of the qualification campaign for time-wasting after 38 minutes.
Grosicki should have done better after getting past Lescott but he screwed his shot past the post as Poland reacted positively to going behind.
A mistake by Phil Jagielka almost let in Pawel Wszolek for an equaliser two minutes into the second half. The Everton centre-back miskicked attempting to clear with Wszolek unmarked behind him but Glen Johnson slid in to retrieve the situation.
Hart had to be alert to turn over Ludovic Obraniak's powerful drive from the angle of the penalty box.
Then Piszczek was only inches off target with a low half volley which hit the side netting.
Glik was booked a minute later for handball and, from Gerrard's free-kick, Defoe miskicked at the far post.
But an equaliser was looking increasingly likely and it arrived in the 70th minute as Glik got in front of Lescott to head Obraniak's corner past Hart.
Poland looked the more likely to snatch a winner after Rooney was taken off and replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with 17 minutes remaining.
But England remained firm despite retreating deeper and deeper and have now been beaten only once in 18 meetings with the Poles.
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|3||Shots on Target||1|
|7||Shots off Target||5|
|35.7||1st Half Poss.||64.3|
|46.3||2nd Half Poss.||53.7|