Stadium of Light, Sunderland, England
75′ Dier (OG)
Marcus Rashford became the youngest English player to score on his debut after his early volley helped England defeat Australia 2-1 at the Stadium of Light.
The 18 year-old superbly volleyed home three minutes into the game to put the Three Lions ahead before a second-half strike from substitute Wayne Rooney sealed the victory. That was before the Socceroos reduced the deficit when substitute Eric Dier headed into his own net.
The hosts started well but could have fallen behind in the first minute when Fraser Forster almost made a calamitous mistake when his clearance was charged down by the Socceroos’ Jamie Maclaren but the Southampton keeper managed to grab hold of the loose ball before his throw-out eventually resulted in Rashford’s opener. After Raheem Sterling’s cross was blocked the loose ball fell invitingly to Rashford who volleyed home past Matt Ryan at his near-post.
Three minutes later the visitors went close when Robbie Kruse fired an effort over the bar from-range. They went close again in the 17th minute when a poor header from Chris Smalling fell to Tom Rogic who surged forward before firing wide.
On the half-hour-mark the hosts went close to a second when Ryan Bertrand found Rashford who decided to find Adam Lallana instead of going for goal but the Liverpool man couldn’t beat Ryan who smothered the effort.
Five minutes before the interval the hosts went close to doubling their lead when Bertrand teed up Jordan Henderson from a freekick and the Liverpool skipper’s curling effort forced Ryan into a fine save, with the Australian tipping the ball over the bar.
After the break the Socceroos went close to finding an equaliser when Henderson was robbed on the edge of the box by Rogic who let fly but his effort was just too high.
Two minutes later the hosts made it two. Rashford let the ball run, leaving England two against one with Sterling bursting forward before finding half-time substitute Rooney who composed himself before firing into the top-corner.
After the hour-mark the hosts almost added a third. In the 64th minute Rooney pulled the ball back to Henderson who teed up substitute Ross Barkley who then found Clyne who fired just wide of the target.
Two minutes later the visitors went close. Kruse found Christopher Ikonomidis with a cross but the substitute headed just wide. Four minutes later the visitors went close when Aaron Mooy found Kruse whose effort under-pressure forced Forster into a fine save with his feet.
A minute later the hosts went close when Barkley back-heeled the ball to substitute James Milner who cut-inside to fire an effort just wide of goal.
In the 75th minute the Socceroos pulled a goal back when a cross from subtitute Milos Degenek was headed home by substitute Dier past his own keeper.
In the 85th minute the visitors went close to an equaliser when substitute Craig Goodwin headed a cross from the right into the arms of Forster. A minute later Forster was replaced Tom Heaton who made his England debut, but he wasn’t to be tested as England held on to the victory.
England will need to improve if they are to stand a chance in the Euros and face a tough test in their next warm-up game against Portugal. Australia played very well given they had a huge number of absentees but despite the large number of chances created, they couldn’t do enough to trouble Forster. Dier’s own goal meant that England failed to keep a clean-sheet for the fourth consecutive game in 2016: conceding their seventh from four games.