England held by Montenegro at Wembley

England 0 Montenegro 0

England left Wembley with the jeers of their own fans ringing in their ears as they failed to score at the rebuilt stadium for the first time and had their 11-match winning streak on home soil ended by Montenegro.

Formerly part of Yugoslavia and attached to Serbia in footballing terms until 2006, Montenegro's population is roughly the same as Leeds.

And there was definitely a Yorkshire cussed streak about the Eastern Europeans, who ground out a result that throws England's Euro 2012 qualification hopes back into the melting pot.

If there is any consolation it was that the result did not end up being worse as Milan Jovanovic's snap-shot came bouncing back off the bar seven minutes from time with Joe Hart beaten completely.

Nevertheless, the Three Lions have certainly conceded the initiative to their opponents, who now have 10 points from four games, three more than England, who have played a game fewer, with everything pointing towards a group decider in Podgorica on October 7 next year.

As Montenegro arrived nursing a hat-trick of single goal victories but without main striker Mirko Vucinic, the game's pattern was not hard to predict.

Although the visitors did offer a sporadic threat, most of their industry was concentrated in the third of the field England struggled to penetrate.

It took no time at all for England to work out there was no clear path through, so they attempted to go long and wide instead.

A series of raking Steven Gerrard passes to the touchline released Adam Johnson and Ashley Young, although the end product was lacking.

Gerrard looked as though he was trying to prove a point.

Overlooked for the captaincy by Fabio Capello, the Liverpool skipper remains the English heartbeat. If anyone could break Montenegro down, it would probably be him.

Had Peter Crouch's legs been just long enough to reach another of those potentially inspired passes, delivered from inside Gerrard's own half, as it bounced into the area, the whole game might have changed.

As it was, Crouch was unable to make contact, which at least he was able to do when Glen Johnson curled over a cross from the right, only for the Tottenham man, so prolific for his country, to steer his header over.

Apart from that, the nearest England came was through a long-range free-kick from Adam Johnson, who looked quite comfortable on his first competitive start.

The effort flashed wide but at least Mladen Bozovic had a brief moment of panic, which was a rarity in itself.

Hunting in packs, not afraid to concede free-kicks to halt England's momentum, collect yellow cards when the need arose and willing to make the most of knocks they suffered to disrupt the game even further, it didn't make for much of a spectacle. It was very effective though.

Having dropped too deep in that opening period, Gerrard tried to push into a more advanced position.

He provided the pass which allowed a previously quiet Wayne Rooney to fire a long-range effort over.

It was a frustrating evening for the Manchester United man though, who after voicing his protests at Stefan Savic's cynical challenge on Ashley Cole that brought a booking, duly picked one up himself when he raced back 50 yards and needlessly slid in to trip Elsad Zverotic and earn one himself.

Almost an hour had passed before England created a decent chance.

Not surprisingly, it was created for Rooney by Gerrard, who picked his fellow Merseysider out inside the penalty area with a perfectly weighted pass.

Rooney was onto it in an instant but Bozovic was equal to his first-time effort and pounced on the loose ball before Crouch could turn it home.

When Young was ruled to have dived trying to win a penalty when he tumbled over Miodrag Dzudovic, it was the trigger for a period of more English frustration as Montenegro stubbornly failed to drift from their one dimensional game plan.

Capello's response was to make Kevin Davies England's oldest debutant since 1950. Davies, predictably, was booked before the end.

He also provided Rooney with the neat cushioned header that ended with Bozovic making another fine save to deny the striker.

Capello was reduced to screaming for a penalty when Jovanovic appeared to use an arm to get the ball under control with no-one around him.

Jovanovic got away with that one, and almost profited in spectacular fashion at the other end with a shot that came crashing back off the bar, so close to sealing the finest result in Montenegro's short history.

In truth, it probably still was.

News
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Life and Style
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
News
i100
Life and Style
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits