FRANK LAMPARD'S disappointment at missing out on a place in the England senior squad was compounded last night when his spurned penalty three minutes from time cost him a fourth goal in successive Under-21 games and Peter Taylor's team their undefeated record this season.
Lampard, the team's captain, has twice scored from the spot in their 100 per cent start to the European Under-21 Championship campaign. But when substitute James Beattie was pushed to the ground late on in this friendly at Portman Road, the West Ham midfielder saw his kick, though well struck, clawed away by the goalkeeper Jindrich Skacel. "I saw the keeper move so I should have put it the other side," said Lampard. "He was about seven foot tall so I put it at a good height for him."
It was no more than the visitors deserved. They had scored the first goal Taylor's team had conceded in 385 minutes of action four minutes before the break and twice hit the post in a first period which they dominated with style. Certainly it will serve as a warning to Glenn Hoddle that the Czechs continue to produce classy sides. Gareth Barry, after his composed introduction to the Premiership with Aston Villa, received a lesson in international football when he was undone for the Czechs' goal.
It was a pair of twins, the Doseks, who both play for Viktoria Pizen, who combined so productively. The fullback, Lukas, weaved his way past the 17-year-old Barry wide on the right, cut back into the penalty area along the by-line and looked up to find his sibling Tomas, who volleyed home from close range.
Taylor reacted to his team's struggles by withdrawing Kevin Davies at half time, and, re-introducing Matthew Upson to the back three, pushing Kieron Dyer into the centre of midfield and Lampard into the "hole" behind Carl Cort.
As England produced a much more progressive second half, Lampard shot just wide after 67 minutes. His biggest disappointment was still to come.
ENGLAND Under-21s (3-5-2): Simonsen (Everton); Barry (Aston Villa), Curtis (Man Utd), Brown (Man Utd); Dyer (Ipswich), Lampard (West Ham), Carragher (Liverpool), Morris (Chelsea), Ball (Everton); Davies (Blackburn), Cort (Wimbledon). Substitutes used: Johnson (Crewe Alexandra) for Brown, 75; Dunn (Blackburn) for Morris, 67; Beattie (Southampton) for Ball, 75; Upson (Arsenal) for Davies, 45; Cadamarteri (Everton) for Cort, 67.
CZECH REPUBLIC (4-5-1): Skacel; L Dosek, Lengyel, Petrous, Vorel (Licka, 72); Sionko (Papousek, 83), Ujfalusi, Heinz, Pacanda (Simak, 71, Brabec, 88), Jankulovski (Plesko, 45); T Dosek.
Referee: S Dougal (Scot)
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