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October 11, 2013
• Wembley Stadium, London
Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco
• Attendance: 83807
W. Rooney 48'
B. Bošković 62' (own goal)
A. Townsend 78'
D. Sturridge 90'+
D. Damjanović 71'
That was fun and not at all tense in places, not! I hope that you have enjoyed following all the goals and action with me tonight. I have been Hayden Gribble and you stay classy, football fans!
So what will Roy Hodgson take away from that result? Well - three points of course! But he will also have been impressed by some individual performances tonight and he now leads the Three Lions into their final game of Group H on top. But there is still work to be done if England are to book their place on that plane to Rio next year.
FULL TIME - ENGLAND 4-1 MONTENEGRO. In the end, the scoreline makes the game look all too easy for England. In truth, the home side found it very difficult to break the visitors down but they managed to find extra pockets of space to run into after the break. Andros Townsend had the game of his life on his debut and will rightfully win many plaudits in tomorrow's papers and his goal capped off a confident performance from the most inexperienced Englishman on the pitch.
90' + 3'
Penalty Goal Daniel Sturridge
GOAL! With what must be the last kick of the game, Sturridge strides forward, brimming with confidence and slots the ball low to the keeper's left. Poleksic goes the other way and it's 4-1 to England!
90' + 2'
PENALTY TO ENGLAND! Sturridge brushed past Voljov and was pulled to the floor. The referee points to the spot and the striker looks set to take this...
There will be THREE minutes of added on time.
Just a minute to go plus stoppages and the England players are happy to play keep-ball. Roy Hodgson will be a very happy man come the full time whistle.
OFFSIDE! Rooney breaks forward and puts Sturridge clean through. But the Liverpool hitman is denied a one-on-one situation by the lineman's flag.
Montenegro are looking to reply here, but the English defence is a solid rock which is not for splitting. Surely it's all three points for the Three Lions?
Just over ten minutes to go and there is breathing space again for the Three Lions. What a goal from Townsend, is this the most effective debut from an England player in years? Given the moment and given the match, I think it just might be.
Goal Andros Townsend
GOAL! And that has capped a dream debut for Andros Townsend. The winger picks the ball up and from 25 yards and lets rip after cutting onto his right foot, slamming it past Poleksic. What a moment for the Spurs ace!
CHANCE! Rooney turns on the ball in plenty of space but his tame effort is gathered by Poleksic. England are looking to make this easier for themselves but they are finding it tough to breakthrough again at the moment.
CHANCE! England concede a free-kick about 30 yards from goal. Kecojevic steps up...and blasts the ball over. How are your nerves, readers?
Assist Fatos Beciraj
Goal Dejan Damjanović
GOAL! Oh, well, I didn't see that coming. Damjanovic sitcks his foot out to latch onto a low shot from Bequiraj and steer the ball past Joe Hart from 12 yards. Still just under twenty minutes to go and this one is not over yet.
CHANCE! Gerrard has to dig the ball out from behind his run as Rooney lays off the ball with the goal gapping. He hits the ball off his standing foot but it takes a deflection for a corner. From the set-piece, Welbeck hits a smart low shot which is palmed away by the keeper.
England are probing for a third as Lampard makes way for Michael Carrick. Surely, the Three Lions are home and dry?
CHANCE! Just as you think England have got this in the bag, Jovetic goes up the other end and rattles Joe Hart's crossbar with a thunderbolt. Just a warning shot, perhaps?
Own Goal Branko Bošković
GOAL! It's a comedy of errors for Montenegro as a cute flick from Sturridge sets Welbeck away and his cut back into the box finds the toes of Boskovic, who steers the ball past the despairing keeper. That'll be on a few DVDs come Christmas!
OFFSIDE! Sturridge receives a pass from Rooney to set him clean through, but the flag is up. On the replay, it looks very tight. I've seen them given...
CHANCE! Townsend shoots low from the edge of the box after cutting inside on his left foot, but his shot is gathered by Poleksic. The winger has been very impressive on his debut.
Yellow Card Kyle Walker
CHANCE! The resulting free-kick meets the head of Jovetic but his club teammate Joe Hart does well to get down and punch to safety and receives a cheer from the home fans. That'll be a confidence booster for the Man City keeper.
That yellow card has sent Roy Hodgson into a frustrated tirade with his bench as the Spurs full-back will now miss the crucial match against Poland next week. It was a stupid pull back from Walker.
PENALTY SHOUT? Sturridge goes through but his touch is a heavy one and he goes down under intense pressure. The referee does not want to know about it and to be fair, Sturridge does not appeal, although the fans do!
Yellow Card Vladimir Volkov
Yellow Card Savo Pavićević
STAT ATTACK: 6 - Wayne Rooney has netted six goals in his last five World Cup qualifiers. Update.
Goal Wayne Rooney
GOAL! It's Wayne Rooney who is on hand to banish those nerves within Wembley. Townsend was the engineer, driving forward on the right flank before squaring the ball to Welbeck, whose shot is parried by Poleksic before his Man Utd counterpart pounces on the loose ball to bury it. Relief for Roy Hodgson and every England fan!
Both sets of teams are out for the second half and England get us back underway.
What could be the trigger to spark England back into life here? A substitution? Or more service to the forward men?
STAT ATTACK: 0 - The last time England were drawing 0-0 at half-time in a competitive home game was against Montenegro in October 2010. Frustrated.
Roy Hodgson will have to inspire his team to attack with more impetus and guile to break down what - I must be honest - has been a rather ordinary Montenegro side so far. There is still plenty of time to go, but I have the feeling that longer the game stays stays at 0-0, the more the visitors will park the bus.
HALFTIME - ENGLAND 0-0 MONTENEGRO
CHANCE! Brilliant build-up play as Rooney uses his strength to put the ball across the goal and Sturridge is unlucky to see his back heel blocked and out for a corner.
CHANCE! Sturridge brings the ball forward and plays a lovely back heel towards Welbeck, whose deflected shot goes out for a corner. The resulting corner leads to confusion near the penalty spot and the ball falls to Sturridge who is in acres of space but skuffs his shot wide.
CHANCE! That was the best chance for England to break the deadlock. Townsend gets his shot away from 20-yards and Poleksic can only parry it to the waiting feet of Rooney, who has two choices. He can either play the ball off to Sturridge, who is miles open, or take a shot. He chooses the later and finds only the side netting. Big chance!
CHANCE! Well...a half chance really. Townsend does well to win the ball back on the byeline and plays the ball to Rooney, who twists and turns in the box to find Gerrard, whose timid shot finds only the keeper. Have the nerves set in, yet?
Has the news from Ukraine reached the England players? The early pressure has distilled and the atmosphere has gone a little flat. A goal before the break would do wonders for the hosts, here. They need something to lift them after such a strong opening ten minutes.
CHANCE! Baines does brilliantly again on the left. He skips past his marker and sets up Gerrard from 30 yards, who drills a low shot which is thwarted by Poleksic diving low to his left.
With half an hour on the clock Montenegro win a free-kick about 35-yards from goal, but a free-kick is given to England for offside.
CHANCE! The first real chance for the Montenegrin's comes nearly a third into the match. Jovetic takes a chance by shooting from outside the box but his effort is blocked and it loops into Hart's graps.
England are still looking to make a breakthrough as they continue to press the visitors. Meanwhile, Ukraine have taken the lead against Poland, meaning as it stands they go top of Group H.
STAT ATTACK: 4 - Montenegro have been shown four red cards in World Cup 2014 qualification; no European side has seen more. Feisty.
CHANCE! A good show of strength from Baines takes him to the byeline where he tees up Sturridge, who can only find the keeper's outstretched hand from inside the six-yard-box. The following corner is again palmed away and into safety.
England are quite content to control the tempo here and to be honest the visitors are allowing them to do it. They will try to catch the Three Lions on the break tonight.
CHANCE! It's yet another pot shot from outside the opponent's area as good build-up play involving Townsend, Walker and Sturridge leads to Gerrard sending his shot wide to the keeper's left.
Patience is the key to the Montenegrin lock tonight. England are looking tight at the back and well organised across the park. An ironic cheer roars from the Wembley crowd as Jovetic is offside.
CHANCE! Gerrard floats a free-kick into the box but it is cleared by the Montenegro defence. More penetration needed from the Three Lions.
CHANCE! Nice flick from Rooney inside the 'd' finds Sturridge, whose shot balloons over the bar. Nice football from England.
England are making the ball talk here but are still to find a breakthrough. Meanwhile, the right-flank partnership of Kyle Walker and Townsend is looknig fruitful.
CHANCE! Rooney picks the ball up from outside the box and he tries to curl his effort to the keeper's left but it is deflected away for a corner, which is easily cleared by the visitors.
Wayne Rooney - still wearing the black headband to protect his recent head injury, is caught offside. It is clear that England have been given the order to attack from the off tonight.
CHANCE! Danny Welbeck, who has been pushed out to the left in Roy Hodgson's starting line-up, takes a shot from 20-yards after finding space, but his left peg puts it high over Poleksic's goal.
Montenegro get us underway, kicking from right to left.
After the hugely patriotic round of both national anthems, the England players take their smart track suit tops off and throw them to the bench as they await kick-off.
The groundstaff have been working feverishly with their pitchforks on the hallowed Wembley turf. It has been bucketing down in the capital today and it's not going to be easy out there. The players are in the tunnel and they emerge onto the pitch. It's now or never, boys.
WILD AT HART? Although his form has been as unpredictable as a Harry Redknapp sound bite, Roy Hodgson has installed as much confidence in his much maligned number one as he can muster. The Wembley faithful will be hoping he can regain his form when it matters here tonight. Kick-off is just over ten minutes away...
WHAT ENGLAND NEED TO DO: Victory in the remaining two games in this group will see England home and dry and guaranteed a trip to Brazil next summer. However, if they drop any points then we could be in for a bumpy ride. Is anyone else out there a tad bit nervous?
Montenegro: Poleksic; Kecojevic, Savic, Jovanovic, Volkov; Pavicevic, Zverotic, Drincic, Boskovic; Damjanovic, Jovetic. Subs: Blazic, Novakovic, Krkotic, Igumanovic, Janjusevic, Kasalica, Vesovic, Vukcevic, Dembasic, Beqiraj.
So, the big news tonight is Roy Hodgson's decision to hand a debut cap to Tottenham winger Andros Townsend. The youngster has been in impressive form for his club so far this season but can he transfer the same level of performance tonight for the Three Lions? Leighton Baines replaces Ashley Cole at left-back whilst red-hot Daniel Sturridge partners Wayne Rooney up front.
England: Hart; Walker, Cahill, Jagielka, Baines; Gerrard, Lampard; Townsend, Sturridge, Rooney, Welbeck. Subs: Smalling, Ruddy, Gibbs, Jones, Carrick, Milner, Barkley, Wilshere, Defoe, Lambert, Forster.
Good evening and welcome to the live text commentary of the crucial World Cup Qualifying Group H match between England and Montenegro. My name is Hayden Gribble and I shall be taking you through all the crucial action at Wembley tonight. But before we go any further, let's get the team news...
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