Second-half goals from Freddie Sears and Lee Cattermole helped England Under-21s get their 2011 Uefa Championship qualifying campaign off to a winning start after a battling performance in Macedonia.
Stuart Pearce's team had to come from a goal down to prevail 2-1 in Prilep, after Agim Ibraimi had put the hosts 1-0 up.
Cattermole had a shot well saved by Kristjian Naumovski early on, and soon afterwards he had an opening goal ruled out for off side.
Macedonia's Ibraimi tested Scott Loach with one free-kick; then, in the 34th minute, he made no mistake in similar circumstances as he put his team in front. Macedonia should have scored again when another Ibraimi free-kick was not dealt with and fell to Marko Ivanovski whose shot was blocked by Loach.
Sears came on at half-time for Fabrice Muamba, but the first meaningful action was another important stop by Loach, this time from a shot by substitute Muzafer Ejupi.
Next, though, a Junior Stanislas corner was not cleared – allowing Danny Rose to head the ball into the path of Jack Rodwell. The Everton player flicked it on to Sears, who beat Naumovski from six yards to level the scores in the 68th minute.
Sears hit the side-netting with another effort shortly afterwards. But England's big chance came when substitute Jack Wilshere was fouled in the area close to the byline and Cattermole duly scored from the spot six minutes from time.
England (4-4-2): Loach; Naughton, Mancienne, Tomkins, Gibbs; Stanislas, Muamba, Cattermole, Rose; Sturridge, Rodwell. Substitutes: Wilshere, Cleverley, Sears, Welbeck, Fielding, Smalling, Cork.Reuse content