Football: Sheron's finesse is ruined by a bad bobble

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The Independent Online
England Under-21. .1

Czech Republic Under-21. .1

A GOAL described aptly by the manager, Lawrie McMenemy, as 'a soppy little bobbly goal' was enough to check the progress of England's emerging youngsters in the Toulon Under-21 tournament here last night. Now they will have to avoid defeat against the Brazilian Under-19 world champions tomorrow if they are to guarantee their place in the semi-final round of a competition they have won twice in the last three years.

A goal by Mike Sheron looked as though it might be just enough to keep them on course in their seventh match without defeat but the Czech Republic proved a far more formidable opponent than England's willing Portuguese victims in the opening match.

Early on the Czechs lived a little dangerously and in the 33rd minute they over-reached themselves once too often. Jamie Redknapp won possession in his penalty area before sending Darren Anderton off on a galloping 60-yard run. The Tottenham winger passed on responsibility to Bryan Small and his measured cross was headed firmly home by Sheron.

The manner of the equaliser was bitterly disappointing to England. Paul Gerrard, of Oldham, failed to claim a cross and the ball squirmed out of his grasp to Pavel Novotny. The Czech totem squeezed home a daisy-cutter via a fortuitous deflection off Neil Ardley.

ENGLAND UNDER-21: Gerrard (Oldham Athletic); Ardley (Wimbledon), Sutton (Norwich City), Hall (Southampton), Small (Aston Villa), Awford (Portsmouth), Flitcroft, Sheron (both Manchester City), Clark (Newcastle United), Redknapp (Liverpool), Anderton (Tottenham Hotspur). Substitute: Allen (Queen's Park Rangers) for Clark, 57.

CZECH REPUBLIC UNDER-21: Blazek (Slavia Prague); Skala (Viktoria Pilsen), Stastka (Banik Ostrava), Bejbl (Slavia Prague), Cieslar (Vitkovice), Sulek (Slavia Prague), Cilek (Slovan Liberec), Beranek (Vitkovice), Lokvenc (Hradec Kralove), Nvotny (Union Cheb), Vavra (Slovan Liberec). Substitutes: Drozd (Banik Ostrava) for Skala, 9; Vagner (Viktoria Pilsen) for Cilek, 60.

Referee: S Baharmast (United States).