Football: Dalglish Junior off the mark

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The Independent Online
SCOTLAND UNDER-21s returned to winning ways with a 2-0 triumph over Estonian courtesy of a great goal from Paul Dalglish. The Newcastle forward, in front of watching father Kenny, struck in the 74th minute to calm the home team's nerves, adding to Craig Dargo's sixth-minute opener for three vital European Under-21 Championship points in Airdrie.

After just six minutes, Scotland were ahead when Dargo benefited from a Raivo Nommik error, the defender unsure whether to clear or pass the ball back and managing to do neither. His indecision meant Dargo was clear on goal and though the shot was poorly struck, the effort proved enough to defeat keeper Martin Kaalma who could only help the ball into the net.

Only after the Estonians lost Jevgeni Kurjanov to a 70th-minute red card did Scotland truly impose themselves on the contest. Scotland moved two ahead after 74 minutes when Dargo's far post cross reached Dalglish who this time made no mistake with a powerful half-volley across and beyond keeper Kaalma.

The Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper Anthony Williams was the hero of Wales Under 21's again last night when he saved his fourth penalty in successive internationals.

Williams kept out two spot kicks in his last Under 21 international against Italy at Wrexham last month. And he repeated the feat against the Danes last night with two outstanding saves, which earned his side a 2-2 draw.

Wales were captained for the first time by Wigan's new pounds 600,000 signing Simon Haworth and he fired them ahead in the eighth minute, hooking a Jason Price cross past Jimmy Nielsen.

Three minutes later, Williams saved his first penalty of the night from Bolton's Claus Jensen, after Price had cut down Jesper Gronkjaer. The Ajax winger Gronkjaer was giving Price a torrid time, and created Denmark's equaliser after 16 minutes when he got to the line and cut the ball back for Dennis Rommerdahl to smash home.

The battling Welsh were ahead again a minute from the break when Jason Thomas ran on to a through ball and lobbed it over Nielsen.

Williams saved his second penalty of the game after 55 minutes when Thomas pulled down Gronkjaer. This time Peter Madsen fired the ball to Williams' left and the keeper made a brilliant one handed save. But after 62 minutes Denmark were level when Peter Degn got away down the right and drove in a low cross that Peter Madsen finished from inside the six yard box.

Darren Fitzgerald wasted a glorious chance to give Northern Ireland under- 21s a priceless victory against Finland at the Ballymena Showgrounds.

The Rangers striker somehow managed to hit the bar from six yards out in the 58th minute of this Group Three qualifier when it would have been easier to score.

Retribution was swift for Fitzgerald and he was hauled off by manager Chris Nicholl six minutes later to be replaced by Richard Graham.

Adrian Coote scored the Irish under-21s' first competitive goal when Markus Heikkinen misjudged Sean Friars' through-ball to leave the Norwich striker in the clear and he confidently rounded Enckelman to stroke the ball home after 17 minutes.

Finland equalised in the 29th minute through Jari Niemi.

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