MX23RW : Friday, September 17 13:45:01| >> :600:697174:697174:
Mar 24, 2018 at 5.15pm UK at Molineux
Attendance: 15,314
England U21sEngland Under-21s
2-1
Romania U21sRomania Under-21s
Gray (8'), Clarke-Salter (73')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Costache (79')

Live Commentary: England Under-21s 2-1 Romania Under-21s - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live coverage as England Under-21s register a 2-1 win over Romania Under-21s in Saturday's friendly at Molineux.
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England Under-21s have recorded a 2-1 win over Romania Under-21s in Saturday's friendly international at Molineux.

Demarai Gray gave England an early lead and after Romania had gone close on a number of occasions, Jake Clarke-Salter doubled his side's advantage.

Valentin Costache eventually halved the deficit for the visitors, but England just about held on to register their fifth successive victory in all competitions.

Find out how all of the action unfolded in the West Midlands courtesy of Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates below.


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Hello and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of the friendly between England Under-21s and Romania Under-21s. Both teams have made an unbeaten start to their qualifying campaign ahead of the 2019 European Championship, but who will prevail at Molineux this evening?

England head into this fixture on the back of four wins in a row, and having registered 13 points from five matches in their group. As for Romania, they feature in a group including Portugal and Wales, but they have still come through half-a-dozen contests without suffering defeat and having only conceded three goals. On paper, this should be a test for Aidy Boothroyd's team.

Anyway, without further ado, let's see who features in each starting lineup, beginning with the home side...

ENGLAND UNDER-21S XI: Henderson; Alexander-Arnold, Tomori, Clarke-Salter, Walker-Peters; Ejaria, Maitland-Niles; Gray, Dowell, Lookman; Abraham

ROMANIA UNDER-21S XI: I.Radu, A.Radu, Pascanu, Ghita, Coman, Oaida, Ivan, Hagi, Dobre, Nedelcu, Butean

Let's take a look at England, with Boothroyd opting to go with Tammy Abraham in attack. Dominic Solanke had been expected to begin this fixture but he instead only features on the bench. Trent Alexander-Arnold is given a start at right-back having spent part of this week training with the senior squad.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Kieran Dowell, Demarai Gray and Ademola Lookman all take their place behind Abraham, while Ovie Ejaria - the Liverpool midfielder on loan at Sunderland - gets the opportunity to make an impression.

Fikayo Tomori and Jake Clarke-Salter - both graduates from the Chelsea academy - feature in the centre of defence, and Kyle Walker-Peters gets the chance to get some minutes under his belt after a frustrating campaign at Tottenham Hotspur.

As for Romania, Leicester City defender Alexandru Pascanu and Rochdale midfielder Mihai Dobre get a chance to make themselves known to a wider audience in English football, while forward Andrei Ivan plays his club football for Krasnodar and has already won six caps for the senior team.

England head into this game looking to preserve a quite remarkable unbeaten record on home territory. The Young Lions have not suffered defeat in a friendly or competitive match in England since June 2010, when they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Greece at the Keepmoat Stadium.

PREDICTION! We fancy Romania to give England a match this evening. They are not a team blessed with star names but Daniel Isaila has assembled an impressive set of results. However, with England playing in front of a home crowd, we will back England to run out 2-1 victors.

England are using this game as preparation for their meeting with Ukraine which is coming up in three days time. Romania are without a competitive match on Tuesday, so maybe we will see more of their big names get more minutes on the pitch than their hosts.

The two nations have made their way out at Molineux. The home of Wolverhampton Wanderers is far from full, but I'm sure this game will be played in a vibrant atmosphere.

A reminder of the two teams...

ENGLAND UNDER-21S XI: Henderson; Alexander-Arnold, Tomori, Clarke-Salter, Walker-Peters; Ejaria, Maitland-Niles; Gray, Dowell, Lookman; Abraham

ROMANIA UNDER-21S XI: I.Radu, A.Radu, Pascanu, Ghita, Coman, Oaida, Ivan, Hagi, Dobre, Nedelcu, Butean


KICKOFF! England get us underway.

England have started very brightly with a free kick being won on the edge of the penalty area. Alexander-Arnold and Dowell are standing over the ball...

SHOT! It's the left foot of Dowell but the Everton playmaker sends the ball a yard or so over the crossbar.

Romania are allowing England to see plenty of the ball in these opening stages, but the visitors are showing intent when they do get on the ball. A cross just got whipped across the penalty area before Alexander-Arnold saw out the danger on the opposite side of the pitch.

This game is shaping up nicely. Good work from Gray sees England win a corner on the left but Alexander-Arnold's delivery is poor and cleared at the near post.

GOAL! England Under-21s 1-0 Romania Under-21s (Demarai Gray)

England take the lead! Walker-Peters and Lookman combined to play Gray into the penalty area and after wrong-footing a defender, the winger fired a deflected shot - off Leicester teammate Pascanu - into the bottom corner of the net from 12 yards out.

The home side have really come out all guns blazing. Not only is there a confidence about Boothroyd's side, there is intent and it has shaken Romania.

CHANCE! Just like that, Romania should be level! Ivan plays in Coman who is on the left-hand side of the penalty area but he blazes his shot high over the crossbar.

SHOT! Abraham doesn't look short of confidence this evening and the Chelsea forward decides to let fly from an acute angle, with the ball going wide of the far post. Good effort.

Ejaria and Maitland-Niles are already forming an effective partnership in the middle of the pitch. The ball is getting played about with pace and the pair are quickly closing down the opposition whenever they don't have the ball.

We are going to have a break in play with a couple of Romania players having collided when successfully getting a block in to deny Abraham. Both should be fine to continue.

These opening 20 minutes have flown by! England are making all of the running but they are being kept honest when Romania take the more direct approach when they have the ball. Plenty of encouragement for Boothroyd.

It's been a few minutes since we have had any goalmouth action but England are still persevering with their high-energy start. Most of the players on show probably know that they will not play the full 90 minutes so there is a licence to be a bit more gung-ho than usual.

WOODWORK! Romania should be level. England are sloppy with the ball and after gifting possession to the visitors, they are a man short at the back. Ivan - all on his own - is able to get a shot away from 14 yards out but despite beating Henderson, Ivan sees Clarke-Salter get a small touch on the ball to help it onto the post. Incredible defending!

That let-off has sharpened England up. They have responded by going on the offensive without being able to get a final shot away.

We've had another collision - this time between Dowell and Ivan. The Romanian player seems to have suffered the worst of it, but both are back on their feet.

It's becoming noticeable that Romania are getting more players into central positions in an attempt to dominate Maitland-Niles and Ejaria. The pair are not having it their own way now, and Dowell may have to drop deeper to get England back on the ball.

This is so unlucky. Ejaria just played an outstanding 60-yard ball onto the boot of Gray, who had got in behind the right-back, but the winger's touch is a bit heavy and the goalkeeper came out to claim.

CHANCE! England look far from assured at the back. Ejaria lost the ball on the left and once the ball is crossed to Coman, you expect the midfielder to score. However, the ball bounces off his shin and Henderson stops it going into the bottom corner.

If anything, I expected this match to be tight, but both defences have looked very open at times. Based on general play, Romania deserve to be level but they are not taking their opportunities.

Romania are finishing their first half on top as well. Another cross finds its way into the England penalty area and Henderson has to come and claim.

SHOT! Another mistake at the back - this time from Henderson - allows Dobre the chance to get a shot away from distance, but he miscues his effort well wide of the far post.

England could probably do with half time here. They are still trying to play football at every opportunity, but they could do with going direct much more than they are doing because at times, they are getting caught out.

There will be two minutes of added-on time.

HALF TIME: England Under-21s 1-0 Romania Under-21s

The half-time whistle goes at Molineux and England take a slender lead into the break. The home side took an early lead through Gray's goal, but Romania have created the better opportunities and should be level. Much to ponder for Boothroyd.

The goal that England did score was superb. Walker-Peters passed the ball inside to Lookman, who in turn slotted it through to Gray. The winger was left one-on-one with the defender and having been allowed to get the ball onto his right foot, the Leicester player saw a deflected shot find the bottom corner.

The home side have created other opportunities, but all of the clear-cut openings have gone Romania's way. Coman should have done a lot better soon after England's opener, with his shot from inside the penalty area going well over the crossbar, while Ivan thought that he was about to find the bottom corner until Clarke-Salter deflected his effort onto the post.

Boothroyd will already be considering changes for England but I would be surprised if he does not instruct his current XI to go out and put on an improved showing after the restart. There have been positives from his performance, but there have been an equal amount of negatives.

KICKOFF! Romania get us back underway.

To England's credit, they have got straight onto the offensive since the restart. However, after a sustained period of possession, a weak cross goes straight into the hands of the goalkeeper.

Back come Romania with the visitors earning a free kick on the edge of the area. However, from 30 yards out, a shot is sent into the wall and England are able to clear.

Alexander-Arnold has provided a constant threat down the right with the Liverpool full-back showing his pace and his range of passing. However, on this occasion, his low cross was poor and Romania were able to clear before the ball reached Abraham.

England and Abraham think that they should get a penalty when the forward goes to ground inside the area. It's a debatable one because the foul comes from Abraham's own mis-control, but if the letter of the law is applied, it's a spot kick with Pascanu's knee making contract with the Chelsea man.

Once again, Romania come within inches of a leveller. A cross from the left is about to be tapped home at the back post, but Walker-Peters gets back to send the ball behind for a corner.

SUBSTITUTION! A first change for England sees Gray replaced by Kenny.

I imagine that will signal the first of a number of alterations from Boothroyd. England have been better in this second half but certain players will be rested for the closing stages.

SUBSTITUTION! It's Romania's turn to make a change with Costache replacing Dobre.

We've reached a stage in this game where it requires a spark. Neither side are showing that much ambition to get forward, with the ball being played around in the middle of the park.

WOODWORK! Much better from England, with Alexander-Arnold's floated cross being headed onto the top of the crossbar by Abraham. The goalkeeper slipped so he wasn't going to keep the ball out had it been on target.

Since I mentioned about the lull in the action, it's picked up! England are playing with pace in and around the penalty area and for the first time in a while, Romania look troubled.

This is a worry for England. Maitland-Niles has gone down in the centre of the pitch and has indicated that he can't continue. I'd say this will probably keep him out of Tuesday's match.

SUBSTITUTION! Off goes Maitland-Niles with Onomah being introduced in his place.

WOODWORK! England hit the woodwork for the second time in less than 10 minutes. Lookman was given space on the left and after drifting inside onto his right foot, his low shot hit the outside of the post via a touch from the goalkeeper.

GOAL! England Under-21s 2-0 Romania Under-21s (Jake Clarke-Salter)

That's the second goal that England were looking for. Alexander-Arnold's inswinging corner finds the head of Clarke-Salter, who powers a header into the net off the inside of the post. It comes on his debut too!

England could now win this by three or four. Clarke-Salter's effort has knocked a bit of the stuffing out of the visitors, while England continue to surge forward.

I'd also expect more England changes. I'm surprised that Boothroyd has kept it to just the two alterations. We are still to see Ryan Sessegnon.

GOAL! England Under-21s 2-1 Romania Under-21s (Valentin Costache)

Game on. A free kick from a deep position is missed by Henderson and after a bit of a scramble, Costache finds the net from close range. Sloppy from England.

All of a sudden, England are coming under pressure. I don't think that complacency was an issue, or it will be going forward. Romania have just capitalised on an error and now they fancy this.

SUBSTITUTIONS! Two more England alterations sese Maddison and Calvert-Lewin introduced for Dowell and Abraham.

SHOT! Very nearly the perfect introduction for Maddison! The ball was played through to the Norwich City man but when attempting to find the far corner from a narrow angle, his shot went agonisingly wide with Radu beaten.

SHOTS! Now it's Calvert-Lewin's turn to get in on the action. Firstly, his delicate chip just clears the crossbar before a low effort went marginally wide of the post from 20 yards. England are finishing this game strongly.

There will be four minutes of added-on time.

SHOT! Romania win a free kick from over 25 yards out but Coman decides that he is going to take the shot on. It's a brilliant effort which almost deceives Henderson, but the goalkeeper is able to punch clear.

CHANCE! What a block this is from Walker-Peters, who denies Costache a certain goal from around 10 yards out!

FULL TIME: England Under-21s 2-1 Romania Under-21s

The full-time whistle goes at Molineux and England have just about held on for the win after a late onslaught from Romania. Goals from Gray and Clarke-Salter proved to be the difference and while England were far from their best, Boothroyd will take the positives from beating a team very much in form.

That will be all from Sports Mole for this match. Thank you for joining us this evening and we hope to see you again soon.

If you would like to read our on-the-whistle match report, you can do so by clicking here. Goodbye for now.


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