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  • 29 March 2011
  • • 20:00
  • • Wembley Stadium, London
  • Referee: C. Çakιr

England 1-1 Ghana: Andy Carroll nets first international goal but late Gyan strike seals entertaining draw

England 1-1 Ghana: Andy Carroll nets first international goal but late Gyan strike seals entertaining draw

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The Three Lion's revised attacking system impresses once again before fantastic late strike from the visitors taints Capello's answer to a week full of criticism

In a game that was more open than the eventual scoreline suggested, England fought out an engaging 1-1 draw with Ghana at Wembley.

Fabio Capello wrung the changes after defeating Wales at the weekend, yet the fluid system adopted in the Euro 2012 qualifier once again proved its efficiency against the Black Stars before conceding a late goal moments from time.

With attacking impetus in abundance, England were constantly on the front foot with Ashley Young and Stewart Downing a constant thorn in the visitors’ side.

Attractive build-up play from the two Aston Villa wingers crafted the game's defining moment, when Andy Carroll was found free on the edge of the box to rifle the ball home to net his first goal for England.

Although Downing and Young both went close themselves several times, the game was by no means one-way traffic, with Asamoah Gyan and Dominic Adiyiah guilty of spurning chances for the Ghanaians

As England were just about to see the game in, Gyan came up with a stunning 90th minute winner, that saw him dance his way into the England box, evade a number of defenders and strike an excellent effort with his left foot into the bottom corner of Joe hart's goal.

It took little time for the visitors to dictate to England the task at hand. Whether it was unfamiliarity between the new-look England back four, or the swiftness of Ghana’s counter-attack, a slide rule pass from Sulley Muntari slipped through Dominic Adiyiah and with the goal looming, the onrushing Joe Hart thwarted the striker at his feet.

However, starting on the front foot, England quickly settled into being the game’s dominant force. Thriving in the freedom brought about by the new system adopted by Capello, Villa widemen Young and Downing began to impose their fluid movement and creativity on the game.

First up, Leighton Baines and Young linked well down the left allowing the winger the time to lash just over from the edge of the box.

His Villa team-mate Downing was then guilty of missing a guilt-edge chance moments later. Released by a caressed Jack Wilshere pass down the right flank, Downing was set free on goal. Though, baring down on Richard Kingson’s goal with the keeper seemingly-reluctant to come off his line, the winger hit it with his weaker foot, got it horribly wrong and blazed it high and wide

The game continued in an engaging, high-tempo manner and Downing was again pulling the strings when he delightfully brought down a pitch-length diagonal ball, cut in from the right and fed the ball to Young. After ghosting in from the left, an assured touch to set the ball up and a right footed bender were both well executed but Kingson sprung full-length to tip the ball round the post for a corner.

Ghana, while looking threatening in spells, had little by way of efforts on goal until Gyan swiveled Gary Cahill and let one rip from 60 yards. The Sunderland man struck the ball well enough and drew an appreciative, speculative gasp from the Ghanaian contingent at Wembley, but it was bread and butter stuff for Hart.

England were then fractions away from breaking the deadlock after another typically flowing move. Milner narrowly beat the offside trap with a marauding run down the right and he belted the ball across the Ghana box. Young slid in and looked, for all the world, as if he had converted the cross, yet from point-blank range the ball cannoned off the bar, with Carroll narrowly evaded for the rebound.

Not to be outdone, Ghana soon crafted themselves an effort from a Muntari delivery from a dead ball from deep. The inswinging cross somehow found its way to Adiyiah, who was unmarked at the far post, and Hart made a fantastic reactionary save to thwart the young forward’s slightly unconvincing connection.

Continuing to be at the hub of all of England’s attacking endeavor, Young lofted a long ball over the sleeping Ghanaian back four to initiate England getting the game’s opener. Collecting the ball with a delicate touch from the outside of his boot, Downing laid it off first time to Carroll, who strode onto the ball, drilled it into the far corner and scored his first England goal with clinical aplomb.

Finishing the first 45 as the stronger side by far, half time was called on England before they had any chance to extend their lead, with the Ghanaians beginning to look a little ragged in the face of England’s new found exuberance.

Carroll service | Liverpool man capitalised on a superb build-up to net first England goal

England immediately started where they left off, with Wilshere collecting the ball from deep and driving menacingly at the heart of the Ghana defence. When he was held up, the Arsenal starlet looked to his left for answers and found Young, who stepped onto the sidewards pass and curled an effort fractionally over the bar.

Ghana began to work their way back into the game, more by halting England’s attacking progress than from any initiative of their own. However, when Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu drove with vigour into the England box it took an excellent last-ditch Cahill tackle to deny the young midfielder.

From the resulting play, Ghana cranked up the pressure and after the ball pinballed around the England box for a short while, it eventually broke to John Pantsil on the edge of the box. The fullback connected well with his drive, yet it caught Gareth Barry on its way to goal and flew over the bar to Hart’s relief.

This proved just a temporary respite for Ghana as Kingson was once again forced into a save at full-stretch. Milner picked the ball up just inside the visitors’ half and advanced with purpose before lashing one, left-footed, that required all Kingson’s agility to prevent England going two up.

Questionably escaping the offside trap, Gyan earned himself a chance that was basically a carbon copy of Downing’s fluffed effort in the first half. Gyan was put in down the right side after darting out from a central position but, as he bore down on Hart, he could only disappointingly rifle his effort into the side-netting with the goal gaping.

As the game entered its final stages Ghana continued to push for a much-desired equaliser. When Gyan charged down Hart, the 'keeper was lucky not to see the ball end up anywhere less desirable than a country mile over the bar, while substitute Danny Welbeck went close the other end when he nearly got on the end of Baines' enticing cross.

The game was to end on Ghana's terms though, as they eventually struck a well deserved equaliser. Gyan looked crowded out when he received the ball on the edge of the box. However, shimmying back and forth, the Sunderland striker somehow found himself the space to plant a clinical effort well beyond Hart's reach and into the corner of the net with just seconds remaining.

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