England U-21 1 Romania U-21 1: England pegged back by Hart's moment of bad luck

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The Independent Football

Stuart Pearce's reign as the full-time England Under-21 coach started with a draw after Romania grabbed a fortunate equaliser in the friendly at Ashton Gate.

Matt Derbyshire had given the hosts an early lead, his third goal in five Under-21 appearances, but Romania were level when Bogdan Stancu's free-kick crashed off the bar and went in off goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Romania had Cristian Scutaru sent off for two bookings but England failed to take advantage despite finishing strongly.

The hosts were quickly into their stride. Gabriel Agbonlahor crossed from the right and Theo Walcott stabbed wide as England started to threaten.

The Villa youngster then created the opener in the eighth minute when he received the ball with his back to goal, turned and drove across the face of the goal for Derbyshire to tap in.

It was Derbyshire's third goal for the Under-21s in five appearances, adding to his fine early-season form after scoring a beauty on the opening week of the Premier League season at Blackburn.

Romania were level in the 24th minute in fortuitous circumstances. Nedum Onuoha, the skipper for the evening, slipped as he tussled with Bogdan Stancu and the ball struck the hand of the Manchester City defender, earning him a booking.

Stancu's subsequent free-kick from the edge of the area came back off the crossbar and in off Hart's back.

Clement Palimaru almost gave the visitors the lead when he raced through from a Gabriel Torje ball, only for Hart to smother.

Ben Alnwick, Adam Johnson and Michael Mancienne were brought off the bench at half-time for their debuts.

Alnwick was quickly in the action, saving with his legs after a sweeping move ended with Torje being found in space.

At the other end, Derbyshire thought he was impeded when Alexandru Tudose closed him down as he was about to shoot.

Mark Noble was replaced by Huddlestone in the 63rd minute, with Fabrice Muamba coming on for Michael Johnson.

Derbyshire almost gave England the lead again but his header was saved by Ciprian Tatarusanu.

Scutaru picked up his second yellow card as Romania played the last part of the friendly with 10 men.

England U-21: Hart, Gardner, Cranie, Wheater, Onuoha, Kightly, Noble, MJohnson, Derbyshire, Agbonlahor, Walcott. Substitutes: Alnwick, Mancienne, Huddlestone, Muamba, Milner, A Johnson, Moore, Blackstock.

Romania U-21: Tatarusanu, Tudose, Sepsi, Scutaru, Mardare, Bicfalvi, Torje, Ropotan, Stancu, Palimaru, Deac. Substitutes: Lungu, Tanase, Ganea, Larie, Pacuraru, Ochirosil, Homei.

Referee: S Oddvar Moen (Norway).

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