England 2-1 Wales: Conservative Roy?

Date published: Thursday 16th June 2016 3:53

Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge came off the bench to fire England to a last-gasp 2-1 win over Wales in their Euro 2016 Group B clash in Lens.

The Three Lions dominated possession and territory but Wales appeared to have kept Roy Hodgson’s side at bay until Sturridge toe-poked in the winning goal two minutes into added time.

The victory takes England to the top of the group on four points, with Wales and Slovakia both a point behind.

Wales made a nervous start at the Stade Felix Bollaert-Delelis, with Ashley Williams closed down by Harry Kane immediately after kick-off, and Chris Coleman’s side should have been behind on seven minutes.

Adam Lallana was sent clear down the right by Kane, allowing the Liverpool midfielder time to pick out the run of Raheem Sterling through the middle, With the ball perfectly weighted, Sterling failed to make a clean contact and cleared the crossbar with his effort from six yards.

Wayne Hennessey, recalled in the Wales goal after injury, was called into action for the first time on 25 minutes when he was well positioned to gather Gary Cahill’s header from Wayne Rooney’s free-kick on the left.

England were screaming for a penalty on 32 minutes when the ball struck Ben Davies’ hand as Kane battled with two Wales defenders to head in Sterling’s deflected cross but German referee Felix Brych dismissed the Three Lions’ appeals.

Chris Smalling nodded Rooney’s corner narrowly wide soon after and England were made to pay for their profligacy three minutes before half-time.

Rooney conceded a free-kick in a central position, allowing Bale to line up a shot 35 yards from goal. The Real Madrid star’s shot was driven over the England wall and dipped in time to bamboozle Joe Hart, who got a full hand behind the ball but the Manchester City keeper failed to deny Wales an opening goal – their first strike against the Three Lions in 32 years.

England were booed by their travelling supporters upon the half-time whistle and Roy Hodgson responded to his side’s deficit by making a double substitution in attack, with Sterling and Kane making way for Vardy and Daniel Sturridge. The pair took 10 minutes to make a positive impact.

England began the half on the front foot, with Rooney’s 20-yard low curler being palmed around the post by Hennessey, but their dominance was rewarded on 55 minutes with an equaliser in which both substitutes played major roles.

Sturridge retrieved the ball on the left of the box and the Liverpool striker lifted a cross towards the far post. Under heavy pressure, Wales skipper Williams could only head the ball down into the six-yard box, where Vardy lured. The Leicester hitman mis-hit his shot into the ground but the Hennessey had no time to react as England levelled.

England’s superiority remained, though Dele Alli and Sturridge both failed to retain their composure when they were presented with good openings in the Wales box.

Marcus Rashford became England’s youngest ever player to feature in a European Championships when he replaced Lallana in the 73rd minute as Hodgson chased victory.

Wales threw bodies in the way of Rooney when the England skipper manufactured some space on the edge of the box, while Jonny Williams fired over from outside the box when Wales made a rare foray towards the opposition goal.

Cahill headed over as the 90th minute ticked over, but England still had time to seal three points, when Vardy, Alli and Sturridge combined to create the Liverpool striker enough space to toe-poke past Hennessey.

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