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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 20:52 GMT 21:52 UK
England U21 2-0 Wales U21
James Milner fires England ahead at Ewood Park
England Under-21s secured victory over Wales with two second-half goals.

England dominated the first period, Carlton Cole and Darren Bent both firing shots wide before Wales' David Vaughan slammed a shot off the post.

But the hosts took the lead just after the break when Jermaine Pennant chipped the ball into James Milner's path and the forward lashed past Lewis Price.

After Jon Stead had clipped the bar Bent doubled the lead, heading in Stewart Downing's right-wing centre.

Wales were being pressed from the kick-off and although England were struggling to create clear-cut chances, they were dominating possession.

Cole made the first genuine opening himself, chesting down a high ball in the box, turning sharply and firing a left-foot shot wide of Price's post.

Moments later Cole left the field with an injury and was replaced by Bent, and the Ipswich striker set the game on fire immediately with an electric run and shot that flew narrowly wide.

England were being made to work hard to create opportunities and Stead fashioned an opening for Milner, the Newcastle man's shot failing to trouble Price.

Wales were relying on the counter-attack and Vaughan went on a mazy run through the England midfield before seeing his sweet 20-yard left-foot strike rebound back off the upright.

England hit back with Downing curling a shot just wide but Peter Taylor's men looked frustrated to be going in level at the break.

Whatever Taylor said to his side during the interval it worked, because 30 seconds after the restart England took the lead.

The visitors gave the ball away and Pennant coolly flicked the ball over the Welsh defence for Milner to run onto and lash past Price into the far corner.

England were starting to play some neat passing football and Milner saw another fine effort deflected wide before Stead curled a shot into the arms of Price.

Price kept his side in it moments later with a top drawer fingertip save to flick Stead's fantastic effort onto the bar while Downing blazed wide from a great position just 12 yards out.

But England did eventually double their lead, Downing's vicious cross headed in at the back post by Bent, who continued his fine scoring record at this level.

Vaughan tried to pull one back for Wales in stoppage time, but his deflected effort looped over Scott Carson and behind.


England U21: Carson, Hunt, Johnson (Taylor 83), Davenport, Harding, Pennant (Whittingham 75), O'Neil, Milner, Downing, Cole (Bent 19), Stead.
Subs Not Used: Kilgallon, Lonergan, Baines, Hinshelwood.

Booked: O'Neil.

Goals: Milner 46, Bent 73.

Wales U21: Price, Anthony, Duffy, Parslow, Gilbert, Vaughan, Jamie Tolley, Fowler (Crowell 69), Pipe, Birchall (Carpenter 76), Calliste.
Subs Not Used: Davies, Morgan, Spender, Fish, Worgan.

Ref: Damien Ledentu (France).





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