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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 February, 2004, 21:50 GMT
England U21 3-2 Holland U21
David Bentley
Bentley put England ahead for the second time

England claimed a late victory after twice squandering the lead at Hull.

Crewe's Dean Ashton crowned his U21 debut by converting a Carlton Cole cross only for substitute Jack Tuyp to equalise from 12 yards.

David Bentley put England ahead when he cut inside from the right and unleashed a brilliant shot into the far corner.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar levelled when he volleyed home from 15 yards, but Darren Bent was England's hero when he side-footed in Jon Stead's cross.

Coach David Platt handed debuts to eight players as he ushered in a new era at Under-21 level.

Leeds keeper Scott Carson, Bolton's Nicky Hunt, Aston Villa's Liam Ridgewell, Liverpool's John Welsh, Newcastle's Steven Taylor, Arsenal's David Bentley, Crewe's Dean Ashton and Middlesbrough's Stewart Downing were all handed starts.

Holland carved out the first chance when Romeo Castelen played a short ball into skipper Robin van Persie inside the area only for him to shoot into the side netting.

Moments later and a lively Castelen worked an opening which prompted Carson into a point-blank block after racing off his line to keep the Den Haag winger at bay.

International football often tells me if you concede two goals then you are not often going to score three and win, but if you do score three you are very unlikely to lose
David Platt,
England U21 coach
England had to wait until the 21st minute before they carved out their opening opportunity as Cole fed Nigel Reo-Coker on the overlap, but after skipping past Nick Hofs, his pull-back intended for Ashton was cleared by Michael Jansen.

But within two minutes England went ahead as a superbly-worked move saw Downing feed Cole and this time the ball was laid off perfectly for Ashton to scoop home from little more than six yards out.

England came close to adding a second when Frank van Mosselveld was caught napping inside his own six-yard box, allowing Reo-Coker to muscle in, with the ball hitting the left-hand post before the Dutch cleared.

Bentley then drilled a 30-yard right-foot shot narrowly wide shortly before the break, before Downing fired an effort over the top from a tight angle.

England made three changes at the break, with Arsenal's Justin Hoyte on for Hunt and Jack Tuyp and Boy Waterman on for Van Persie and keeper Michael Vorm.

It took just 52 seconds for Volendam striker Tuyp to make his mark for the Dutch.

After picking up a long through ball, he capitalised on an error by Taylor to drive a low 12-yard shot past Carson into the bottom right-hand corner.

Tuyp nearly grabbed his second seven minutes later after an incisive ball from Hofs had split the England defence, but his left-foot drive narrowly flashed past the woodwork.

Holland looked the more likely side to score, prompting Platt to make two further changes with Blackburn's Jon Stead and Peter Whittingham of Aston Villa on for Ashton and Downing.

England regained the lead in spectacular fashion when Bentley's stunning shot flashed into the far corner off the inside of the post.

But inside 60 seconds Holland were again level with a stunning goal from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar who met Castelen's right-wing cross with an overhead kick from the edge of the six-yard box.

England were not finished, though, and with three minutes remaining 82nd-minute substitute Darren Bent met a low ball in from Stead with a neat finish inside the six-yard box for his second goal in three games.


England U21: Carson, Hunt, Ridgewell, Welsh, Johnson, Taylor, Bentley, Reo-Coker, Cole, Ashton, Downing. Subs: Hoyte, Grant, Whittingham, Davies, Kilgallon, Chaplow, Ambrose, Stead, Chopra, Bent, Lonergan.

Holland U21: Vorm, Verhaegh, Sprockel, Jansen, Van Mosselveld, Hofs, De Ridder, Mathijssen, Huntelaar, Van Persie, Castelen. Subs: Fafiani, Tuyp, Garritsen, Waterman, Schaars, Van Boxel.

Referee: Damien Ledentu (France).

Attendance: 25,280.




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