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Fourth time lucky after England’s Townsend show

A positive and rather mental Wembley in the opening stages experienced every single emotion known to man as England beat Montenegro 4-1 to complete 50% of the job. Man of the match, Andros Townsend signalled the attacking intent from the off and he provided the first goal from his run down the right as well as scoring a screamer to put the cherry on the icing on the top of the cake. Despite a promising debut, part of the praise has to go to Roy Hodgson for opting for him because the manager would usually select the more cautious Milner.

Roy definitely realized the circumstances. England, determined to set the tempo, showed they meant business since the national anthem boomed around the stadium by attacking with plenty of purpose. A dominant midfield, a solid defence and a fluent front four consisting of Welbeck, Townsend, Rooney and Sturridge looked to be all of the ingredients for an early goal to ease the nerves.

However, the Montenegrins hit the net first through Damjanovic when he latched onto Jovetic’s scooping pass prior to chip Joe Hart. Fortunately he was offside so the crowd were allowed to make a few jeers to test the visitors’ mental strength.

No goal was to be witnessed in the first half hour, though there were more reasons to be optimistic for the English with the offensive players linking up well albeit no clear cut chance was forged due to the disciplined nature of the visitors. As England were starting to lose there early drive, Jovetic and co. were growing in confidence with more opportunities available through the usage of counter attacking football. Hodgson’s men were restricted to long range attempts with the pick of the bunch coming from the captain who whipped a shot from 25 yards only for Poleksic to pat it away.

As the half time whistle loomed, England indicated that the bright start was returning following a short spell of Montenegro relaxation. This caused tension around the country let alone the ground because the rare big chances came and gone, most notably Rooney hitting the side netting.

At half time, England discovered that is essential for them to win due to Ukraine beating Poland so what is the best response? You guessed it, a goal inside the first couple of minutes of the restart from Wayne Rooney. The three lions finally found their composure from the Manchester United man who, reacted the quickest from Poleksic’s failure to catch Welbeck’s drive, to have a basic tap in. The breakthrough produced joyous celebrations and sighs of relief for supporters and players alike.

The luck continued for the hosts after an agonizing own goal from Boskovic from his perspective. It was almost comical goal from him. Boskovic presumably miscued his clearance to somehow roll over the line to send Roy Hodgson one step closer to Brazil.

Immediately after the restart, Stevan Jovetic smashed an effort against the crossbar that had Hart beaten all day long. It was a hearts in mouth moment. Probably because of that loss of concentration, Roy brought on Carrick for Lampard to bring some calm after some minds were focused on Tuesday.

With under 20 minutes remaining, thoughts were straight back to the here and now following a goal from Damjanovic. The striker poked home to flash the ball beyond the helpless Hart which resulted in an apprehensive atmosphere.

Efforts from Sturridge, Rooney and Welbeck couldn’t culminate in restoring the two goal cushion, however, debutant Andros Townsend proved his value. The winger ran from midfield; sent a swerving effort against the inside of the post to nestle into the corner and even better for him, it was on his weaker right foot.

Liverpool man Daniel Sturridge won a spot kick inside stoppage time and calmly dispatched it to conclude what had been a far less comfortable day than the scoreline suggests. The goal calmed Wembley, for now. Three points from Poland is easier said than done.

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