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Under 21s: England 4 Austria 0

25 March 2013

England Under 21s cruised past nine man Austria in a convincing 4-0 win to claim a ninth consecutive victory.

Goals from Jonjo Shelvey, Josh McEachran, Marvin Sordell and Connor Wickham ensured the win but the turning point game came when visiting goalkeeper, Richard Strebinger, was dismissed for a deliberate handball outside his area.

The Austrians found themselves down to nine in the second half when defender Patrick Farkas was also given his marching orders for a second bookable offence.

In their final game on home soil before facing Italy in their first game of the European Championships in June, Stuart Pearce’s side capitalised on their Austrian counterparts' depleted outfit in ruthless  fashion.

And it was England who could have taken an early lead through Tom Lees when a dangerous corner from Jonjo Shelvey was met by the head of Lees, however he was unable to prevent his header from flying harmlessly over the Austrian crossbar.

Austria soon replied; captain Raphael Holzhauser burst down the left flank and managed to win a corner for his side, forcing Steele to save well low to his left.

The resulting corner caused England further problems and after failing to clear the set-piece properly Halzhauser struck from range, but fortunately Steele was able to tip the attempt over the bar.

England then created their best chance of the game. A poor clearance from Strebinger in the Austrian goal was capitalized on by Nathaniel Chabolah although he was unable to apply the final touch.

Despite their  dominance England were only inches away from conceding their first goal in 16 months at the other end; Austria’s Robert Zulj held off Lees well before cutting inside and firing his shot just wide of Steele’s post.

Then the turning point in the first-half came when Austria’s goalkeeper Strebinger was sent off by referee Adrien Jaccottet for handling the ball outside his area.

For the second successive game Austria found themselves down to ten men, having seen keeper  Samuel Radlinger also dismissed for handling the ball outside his area against Slovakia.

The Austrians still managed to come away  with the win but Liverpool’s Shelvey ensured there was to be no similar result for them against England, as he dispatched the resulting free-kick past substitute goalkeeper Christoph Riegler.

Shelvey’s strike was all that separated the two sides at half-time, however England could have easily gone into the break with a two goal cushion had substitute goalkeeper Riegler not been equal to Chalobah’s rasping volley.

The second half was always going to be difficult for the ten men of Austria but it was made significantly worse in the 48th minute when Farkas was shown his second yellow card of the game for handling the ball in the area. Half-time substitute McEachran stepped up to calmly convert the spot-kick, giving England a comfortable two goal lead.

England had the ball in the net again shortly after, when neat work from Wickham allowed him time to cut the ball back to the onrushing Sordell who confidently applied the finish.

With a three goal cushion England began to dominate the Austrian side and Wickham was unable to direct his 71st minute volley goal wards to make it 4-0.

However the man-of-the-match did reap his reward three minutes later when he nonchalantly rounded the keeper before passing home to seal the confident win.

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