(Originally posted October 11th 2013)
England got a vital 3 points at Wembley on Friday as they took a significant step in booking their place in next year’s World Cup in Brazil. Hodgson’s team included a few shocks, most notably Andros Townsend in right midfield ahead of Milner and Danny Welbeck on the left rather than his preferred striker position. Both decisions paid off. Roy also kept faith with out of form Goalkeeper Joe Hart.
England came flying out the blocks with Welbeck firing over with his left foot from 25 yards with just 2 minutes on the clock. Welbeck was also involved in another half chance again just a minute later when an Andros Townsend pass found him and his attempted pass to Rooney was deflected out for a Corner.
England had a second shot on the 7 minute mark when England poster boy Wayne Rooney had a shot deflected over for a Corner which came to nothing. Just 3 minutes later the man in form, Daniel Sturridge curled a shot from the left hand side of the box narrowly over the top. Montenegro’s first shot of the game was a torrid one from 40 yards that went well wide of Hart’s goal. They did score in the 16th minute however when Damjanovic lobbed Hart, but he was well offside and the whistle went well before he had the shot.
Another England half chance came when Gerrard had one of his curled shots with his left foot from the edge of the area, but like efforts earlier on in the game, it sailed harmlessly over the bar. Jovetic forced Montenegro’s second shot of the contest when his half volley was blocked by Cahill and sailed safely into Hart’s hands. England came close again when Gerrard hit a powerful curling shot from far out which was tipped wide by Montenegro goalkeeper Poleksic.
The half ended with two more Welbeck shots, one deflected over after Sturridge fed him with the resulting corner, finding the United Striker again as he sliced wide with his left foot and a Sturridge flick that went out for a corner after he was set up by a nice move with Lampard finding Rooney who drove in a low cross from the right of box. England’s best chance of the half however was a surging Townsend run and shot which was fumbled into the path of Rooney who, from a relatively tight angle, fired wide, he should’ve scored though
HT: England 0-0 Montenegro
The second half started perfectly for England, with a goal. Just 3 minutes into the second half a Townsend ball from the right was poorly headed out by a Montenegro defender which landed at the feet of Welbeck who had his first time shot saved and Rooney pounced on the rebound to make it 1-0 to the hosts.
Joe Hart had to make his first, and only, major save of the game in the 55th minute when a Freekick from the left was headed at Goal by danger man Damjanovic, Hart dived to his left and tipped it away.
England forced another save from Poleksic when Lampard took a Corner shot and ITV Man of The Match Andros Townsend cut inside and had a shot. Easy save though. 3 Minutes later though England had the ball in the net again, in fortuitous circumstances. Sturridge had a nice flick on the left which was picked up by Welbeck who ran down the left and squared it to seemingly no-one. Until Boskovic sliced it from the edge of the box into the back of the net for a calamitous own goal, 2-0. Job done? Not quite.
Just 60 seconds after England got their second, Manchester City Summer Signing Stefan Jovetic hit a stunning shot that cannoned off the bar where Hart had no chance. England went straight down the other end though and in a neat passing move where Rooney found Welbeck who then found Lampard, Frank went on to blaze it over from 20 yards. Carrick then replaced Lampard and a crazy 5 minutes ended when Welbeck played a nice low through ball into the box for Rooney who could’ve shot but instead opted to square the ball to Gerrard who had a shot cleared for a corner.
With 20 minutes to play, Montenegro made things nervy for England when they halved the deficit after a shot from sub Vukcevic which was going well wide was turned in by the outstretched leg of Damjovic into the bottom corner which Hart could do nothing about. These nerves lasted a grand total of 7 minutes though as England got a third when Andros Townsend turned away from a defender, took a touch and hit a belter that bended away from the Goalkeeper, clipped the inside of the post and went in.
The final chance, and goal, of the match came in added time when Daniel Sturridge was sliced down by Montenegro number 5, Volkov who picked up the first booking of the game and was lucky to not get another one here. Liverpool Striker Sturridge picked himself up and slotted the ball into the Right hand corner, sending the Goalkeeper the wrong way for a convincing England victory.