England fight back to beat Moldova
England 4-2 Moldova
Tom Ince was the stand-out performer as England Under-21s came back from 2-0 down to beat Moldova in what was a gripping group qualification contest.
New boss Tim Sherwood was taking charge of the England U21 side for the first time in this match, and got off to the worst possible start when Moldovian striker Alexandru Butelschi nipped in to score after just 33 seconds at the American Express Stadium in Brighton.
Things then got worse for England as Butelschi again broke free of the home defence to score a fine solo goal on 14 minutes.
Incensed by the sloppy start, ex-Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood decided upon a change, switching to 4-2-3-1 from his favoured 4-4-2, removing captain Harry Kane and midfield starlet Nick Powell from the field and replacing them with Ravel Morrison and Wilfried Zaha on 15 minutes.
Tim Sherwood was fuming after seeing his side crumble in the opening 15 minutes
This proved a moment of brilliance from the new Head Coach as it only took England 10 minutes to force their way back into the game, Tom Ince rounding the goalkeeper and slotting home from 6 yards into the back of an empty net.
HT: England U21 1-2 Moldova U21
Sherwood's half-time team talk had the desired effect on his players as they came out looking like a different side.
6 minutes after the break Jonjo Shelvey slipped a wonderful through ball, slicing the Moldova back four, for Ravel Morrison to latch onto and score with a composed finish low into the goal.
England now had the belief that they could fully turn the game on its head and take all three points, which they looked set to do when Tom Ince knocked in his second goal on 69 minutes to make it 3-2.
The game remained this way and England kept the ball from a poor Moldova team as they allowed the clock to run down.
There was one last key moment in the game as Ravel Morrison unleashed a speculative effort from 25-yards, which found its way through a host of bodies and into the top corner. That was game over.
FT: England U21 4-2 Moldova U21
08 Powell (Zaha - 15')
09 Kane (Morrison - 15')
10 Wickham (Berahino - 66')
Tim Sherwood Post-Match Comments:
"It was a horrendous start, I honestly thought when that second goal went in that Moldova were going to run up a cricket score. But, we got the lads in at half-time and scoring just before the break changed things. I said you've got to show a bit of passion here, gotta show something different. It's not about ability now because even though you're all better footballers than them you don't want it as much. We sent them out and I made changes early on, which of course I stand by, and the reaction in the second half was pleasing."