England have no trouble

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The Independent Online

reports from Dublin

Rep of Ireland Under-21 0

England Under-21 2

The only missiles that flew on the return to the Irish capital of an England side were legitimate weapons, two right-footed shots in the space of 12 second-half minutes ensuring the Under-21s achieved a better result than their seniors appeared capable of before the hooligans wreaked havoc in this city last month.

Once England began to impose their authority and superior experience the result was never in doubt, Trevor Sinclair and Neil Shipperley scoring the goals that gave them a two-point lead in their European Championship qualifying group, while extending their country's winning sequence over the Irish at this level. In seven games they have won six and drawn the other.

After the disgraceful scenes of Lansdowne Road the Garda were taking no chances and policed this low-key occasion with 100 officers and 300 stewards. Added precautions meant switching the tie from Cork to Dalymount Park and bringing it forward 24 hours to discourage troublemakers who might have stayed on for tomorrow's all-Ireland full international.

There were virtually no England fans apart from the official party in an all-ticket crowd of 6,000. They saw Dave Sexton's side struggle to find space to play before half-time as a lively home team took up the running. The breakthrough the Irish desired so nearly fell to one whose family hails from Donegal and whose two brothers have worn green at this level. However, Kevin Gallen, the impressive Queen's Park Rangers teenager, has opted to play for the country of his birth and the small gathering let him know what they thought of that by jeering his every touch. Gallen's answer almost came as early as the 17th minute, when he seized a weak clearance and rapped a drive against an upright.

Gradually Chris Bart-Williams and Nicky Butt began to locate the red shirts and distract an Irish rearguard in which David Greene and Gary Breen had also caught the eye. From Steve Watson's long throw in the 52nd minute Shipperley nodded on and Trevor Sinclair swivelled to score his fourth goal for his country.

Then a combination between Sinclair and Gallen ended with Shipperley instantly bringing the ball under control before dispatching a splendid shot just inside the post.

IRELAND UNDER-21 (4-4-2): Given (Blackburn); Carr (Tottenham), Breen (Peterborough), Greene (Luton), Hardy (Wrexham); Durkan (Wrexham), Savage (Millwall), Boland (Coventry), Woods (Cork); Kennedy (Liverpool), Turner (Tottenham). Substitutes: Farrelly (Aston Villa) for Boland, 66; Launders (Crystal Palace) for Turner, 73.

ENGLAND UNDER-21 (4-4-2): Gerrard (Oldham); Watson (Newcastle), Pearce (Blackburn), Unsworth (Everton), Gordon (Crystal Palace); Sinclair (QPR), Roberts (Millwall), Butt (Manchester United), Bart-Williams (Sheffield Wednesday); Gallen (QPR), Shipperley (Southampton).

Referee: P Leduc (France)