Football: Anderton boost for England

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The Independent Online
Spain Under-21. . .0

England Under-21. .1

DARREN ANDERTON scored the only goal five minutes from time to give England Under-21 an unexpected victory over their Spanish counterparts in Burgos last night, which will have done the senior side's morale no harm ahead of their match in Santander.

England, with six players making their debuts and no recognised centre-forward, relied heavily on Anderton's Tottenham team-mate, Ian Walker, in goal to stay in the match early on. He produced a string of fine saves as Kiko demonstrated the striking skills with which he helped Spain to the Olympic gold medal in Barcelona.

Alan Wright and Andy Awford were cautioned for fouling the Cadiz midfielder, but although his pace and pinpoint passing frequently exposed England's defence, Walker saved superbly from Pier after 26 minutes and from Toril 10 minutes later.

England were restricted to long- range efforts from Newcastle's Lee Clark and Arsenal's Ray Parlour, but the pressure eased when Kiko was replaced in the second half.

The only goal came after Steve Froggatt, who this week opted to play for England rather than the Republic of Ireland, headed a cross from the substitute Steve Watson against the crossbar. Anderton knocked a defender out of the way to net the rebound.

SPAIN UNDER-21: Valencia; Valasco, Lasa (Sanchez, h/t), Imaz, Prieto, Pablo (Guerrero, h/t), Pier, Garcia Sanjuan (Uraiz, 53), Kiko (Acosta, h/t), Toril (Mendieta, 49), Santi Cuesta (Carreras, 71).

ENGLAND UNDER-21: Walker (Tottenham); Hendon (Tottenham), A Wright (Blackburn), Awford (Portsmouth), Ehiogu (Aston Villa), Whelan (Ipswich), Anderton (Tottenham), Parlour (Arsenal), Bart-Williams (Sheffield Wednesday), Clark (Newcastle), Froggatt (Aston Villa). Substitutes: S Watson (Newcastle) for Whelan, h/t; Sutton (Norwich) for Clark, 71.

Referee: R Valdivielso (Spain).

DARREN FERGUSON became the first Scot to be sent off since Andy Roxburgh took over the national team when he was dismissed in the 65th minute of Scotland Under-21s' 2-0 defeat away to Switzerland last night. The Swiss had Mario Cantaluppi sent off in the same incident and Raphael Comisetti dismissed for a lunge at Darren Salton two minutes later.