Hines fires England after replacing injured Walcott

England U-21 6 Macedonia U-21 3
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The Independent Football

The England Under-21 side secured victory over Macedonia in a breathless European Championship qualifier in Coventry where Theo Walcott was substituted at half-time with a dead leg.

The Arsenal striker, whose participation for the Under-21s has been a bone of contention for Arsène Wenger in the past, was making only his second appearance since returning from a lower back injury.

A 20,074 crowd here were treated to a thrilling game as England were made to work hard for their three points. Kieran Gibbs with a far-post header from Walcott's cross and Micah Richards at a corner put them in control before Muarem Muarem made it 2-1 at the interval.

A blistering start to the second half saw Macedonia make it 3-3 in the space of six minutes through Agim Ibraimi after a mistake by Michael Mancienne and a Gibbs own goal from a Ibraimi corner, with Andy Carroll scoring for England with a near-post flick to a Gibbs cross.

However, Zavon Hines, who came on for Walcott, made it 4-3 in the 67th minute, running onto Tom Cleverley's through ball before putting his finish between the legs of goalkeeper Kristijan Naumovski. Carroll then fired home when a Cleverley cross was not properly cleared and Hines, who was making his debut, also grabbed his second in injury-time with a neat volley.

England Under-21: Loach (Watford); Richards (Man City), Mancienne (Chelsea), Tomkins (West Ham), Gibbs (Arsenal); Wilshere (Arsenal), Cleverley (Watford), Rodwell (Everton), Rose (Tottenham), Walcott Arsenal), Carroll (Newcastle). Substitutes used: Hines (West Ham) for Walcott, h-t; Muamba (Bolton) for Rose, 69; Welbeck (Man United) for Carroll, 90.

Macedonia Under-21: Naumoski; Georgievski, Bogdanovic, Dimitrovski, Lazevski (Nestoroski, 72), Aliu, Stojkov, Muarem, Siljanovski (Kostencovski, 64), Ivanovski (A Stankov 90), Ibraimi.

Referee: F Fautrel (France)