Ambrose fires timely reminder to break Danes

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Ambrose, sent off on his Charlton debut at Sunderland on Saturday, ended an up-and-down four days in the best manner possible, latching on to Carlton Cole's knock-down and then belting a shot into the bottom corner past Kevin Ellegaard on Tuesday night.

It was tough luck on the former Manchester City goalkeeper, who thought he had ensured a draw for the 10-man Danes when he blocked an Ambrose effort moments earlier. But England were not to be denied, as Ambrose's late effort sent them into the crucial European Championship double-header next month with Wales and Germany in confident mood.

"That was the perfect friendly," Taylor said. "We played some exceptional attacking stuff in the first half. The only frustrating thing was we missed some good chances which would have made the game safe. Denmark are a very good team and made it tough for us even after they had lost a player. It took a while to break them down but we got there and we also managed to make sure every player got 45 minutes and the ones who really needed it got 90. I am really happy."

As Taylor pointed out, victory should have been wrapped up before half-time. With Kieran Richardson pulling the strings in central midfield, the visitors carved out a succession of chances yet contrived to spurn the lot. Cole was the chief culprit, nodding tamely into Ellegaard's hands after rising highest to meet Michael Dawson's long ball.

The Chelsea striker also might have taken advantage of Richardson's deft flick on the edge of the area. Instead, Cole drilled his effort wide and James Milner did no better with a header after Richardson had again provided the cross.

The dismissal of Morten Rasmussen for a second yellow card just after the interval should have provided Taylor's men with the spark required to break down Denmark's defence. Instead, the hosts took the game to England but could not profit from Jacob Sorensen's industry, allowing Ambrose to clinch the win. Taylor's side now look certain to clinch a place in the knock-out phase of the European Under-21 Championship after Germany's 3-1 victory over Poland on Tuesday night.

Ambrose was delighted that the game on Tuesday ended in more upbeat fashion than his Charlton debut. "Getting the goal was a bonus," he said. "I was just delighted to complete the second half because after what happened on Saturday I need all the football I can get."

His dismissal was even more frustrating for Ambrose as he is among the select group of Under-21 squad members who could force their way into Sven Goran Eriksson's World Cup party if he were able to produce consistently outstanding performances on the domestic stage. Ambrose said: "Some of the lads have stepped into the full squad and Peter Taylor has said a lot more of us could do the same. We just need to work hard, play as a team and things will happen."