Young Lions down Czechs
England U21s sealed a 2-0 win over Czech Republic at Bramall Lane with Frazier Campbell and Craig Gardner grabbing the goals.
Last Updated: 18/11/08 10:14pm
England Under-21s sealed a 2-0 win over Czech Republic over at Bramall Lane.
Frazier Campbell, on loan at Spurs from Manchester United, and Aston Villa's Craig Gardner scored in each half to give Stuart Pearce's men victory in South Yorkshire.
And things could have been even better for the hosts, but Jamie O'Hara saw his second-half penalty saved.
Pearce handed a debut to Wolves defender Richard Stearman while Manchester City's Nedum Onouha was given the captain's armband.
Czech Republic coach Jakub Dovalil gave Southampton striker Tomas Pekhart a place in his attack.
It was England who took the lead in the 11th minute through Campbell with the
first real opportunity of the match. Goalkeeper Joe Lewis's long goal-kick went over the head of James Vaughan and Campbell was not picked up with an intelligent run round the back of the Czech defence.
The visitors failed to deal with the bouncing ball inside the box and Campbell took a touch before he cleverly guided his shot past Czech goalkeeper Jakub Divis and into the net.
Campbell continued to pose the most dangerous attacking threat and his jinking run in the 19th minute set up Vaughan, but the Everton striker snatched at his shot and blazed over the crossbar from close range.
The Czechs started to exert some pressure in search of an equaliser and midfielder Borek Dockal forced Lewis to tip the ball past the post in the 25th minute with a long-range attempt.
Pearce was then forced into a change in the 30th minute when Lewis was injured and subsequently taken from the pitch on stretcher clutching his leg.
The Peterborough goalkeeper was replaced by Frank Fielding, on loan at Northampton from Blackburn, who won his first cap for the Under-21 side.
Wolves winger Kightly was also lively in the first half and whipped in a dangerous ball which Divis just collected ahead of the incoming Vaughan moments before half time.
England doubled their lead 10 minutes after the break when they were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area which was taken by Gardner.
The Villa midfielder drilled a low effort which went under the last man in the Czech wall and past the dive of Divis before it nestled into the bottom-left corner of the net.
Moments later England were given the chance to increase their advantage when referee Cuneyt Cakir awarded the home side a penalty after Campbell was fouled by Ondrej Kudela as he attempted to win a header.
Spurs midfielder O'Hara took the resulting spot-kick and struck his shot low into the bottom-right corner, but Czech goalkeeper Divis dived the correct way and parried the ball with England unable to capitalise on the rebound.
Campbell, who has now scored in his past three games, was withdrawn in the 67th minute for Sylvan Ebanks-Blake with the weekend's Premier League fixtures in mind.
Stearman went close in the 75th minute when he was presented with a shooting opportunity in the box from a England free-kick but scuffed his shot wide.
The Czechs came close to scoring on the counter attack in the 82nd minute, but substitute Marcel Gecov could not control his shot.
Both sides made several changes in the final few minutes and debutant Adam Lallana screwed a good chance wide after clever build-up play late in the game.