England Under-21s 4-0 Austria Under-21s

Young Lions ease past nine-man Austria

March 26, 2013

England Under-21s continued their record-breaking winning streak on Monday, but overcoming nine-man Austria was hardly the test Stuart Pearce would have hoped for in the last scheduled match ahead of this summer's European Championships.

Connor Wickham rounds the Austrian goalkeeper to seal England's 4-0 win
GettyImagesConnor Wickham rounds the Austrian goalkeeper to seal England's 4-0 win

The Young Lions' ninth consecutive victory without conceding was an easy one in the end and will put them in confident mood for the trip to Israel in June.

However, it was hardly the competitive fare Pearce will have craved as he looks to whittle down his options to a 23-man squad for the tournament.

Austria impressed in the first half and had threatened to breach the England backline for the first time in 16 months on more than one occasion.

However, the red cards handed out to Richard Strebinger and Patrick Farkas either side of half-time killed the game as a contest, with Jonjo Shelvey and substitute Josh McEachran netting from the resulting set-pieces.

Fellow substitute Marvin Sordell and man of the match Connor Wickham also got in on the act as England ran riot, although how much Pearce will take from the result is questionable.

Much like Thursday's 3-0 defeat of Romania in Wycombe, the hosts looked nervous in a slow start.

It took a moment of individual brilliance from Raheem Sterling to create the evening's first chance, with the Liverpool winger jinking past several defenders before sending a cross-shot just wide.

Nathaniel Chalobah was the next to threaten, latching on to a driven Andre Wisdom cross only to be denied by a last-ditch Farkas challenge.

The on-loan Watford midfielder saw penalty appeals waved away, with the resulting corner headed just over by Tom Lees - one of the five changes from the win over Romania.

Andros Townsend saw an effort blocked as England pressed for an opener, which would have come at the other end had Jason Steele not reacted quickly to deny Raphael Holzhauser at his near post.

It was a warning shot the home side failed to heed, with the following corner leading to a strike that would have gone in had Danny Rose not reacted smartly.

Play was swinging from end to end and Chalobah could - and probably should - have given Pearce's side a 24th-minute lead, but put over after a neat one-two with Townsend.

England were impressing going forwards but looking unusually susceptible at the back, epitomised by the play that allowed Robert Zulj to shoot inches wide.

Townsend and Shelvey came close when England returned to the attack, but Werner Gregoritsch's visitors were proving stern opposition.

That was until the 37th minute when a mishap by goalkeeper Strebinger changed the complexion of the game.

Having handled outside the box, referee Adrien Jaccottet sent off the Austria goalkeeper on the instruction of his assistant and Shelvey smashed home the resulting free-kick from the edge of the box.

Replacement Christoph Riegler may have been unable to deny that strike but earned his crust in first-half stoppage time, tipping over a fantastic Chalobah volley.

Austria were on the back foot yet again when play resumed and saw any hopes of a comeback ended when Farkas was sent off for a second bookable offence three minutes in.

McEachran, on just moments earlier, stepped up to slot home the resulting spot-kick and kick off a half of complete England dominance.

Shelvey and Townsend threatened as the hosts chased a third, which unsurprisingly came in the 66th minute when substitute Sordell slotted home a fine cut-back by Wickham.

The Sunderland striker came close to volleying home another five minutes later and soon got the goal he craved, rounding the goalkeeper to slot home England's fourth.

Sordell curled wide as the hosts looked for another and, despite a late Austria effort, the match ended comfortably for Pearce's men.