U21s overcome Slovenians
Richards and Milner secure 2-1 win for Pearce's men
By James Dall. Last Updated: 19/08/08 9:46pm
Pearce: Ready for Portugal
Goals from Micah Richards and James Milner ensured England Under 21s came from a goal down to claim a 2-1 international friendly win over their Slovenian counterparts.
Etien Velikonja had handed the away team the lead early on in the game, but England turned the game on its head before the break to claim success and stand themselves in good stead ahead of September's Uefa Under 21 Championship qualifier against Portugal.
The visitors took the lead on 12 minutes as Velikonja caught England's defence napping, latching onto Uros Korun's excellent through ball to flick past goalkeeper Joe Lewis.
England then had a strong appeal for a penalty waved away by referee Albert Toussaint after Matt Derbyshire was felled in the box, before Richards climbed high to head against the woodwork.
Stuart Pearce's side restored parity in the 25th minute with Manchester City defender Richards tapping into an empty net after causing havoc in the penalty area from Tom Huddlestone's corner.
Milner handed England the lead on 35 minutes as the Newcastle United winger swivelled on the edge of the box before dispatching into the bottom left-hand corner.
The home team twice went close to extending their advantage before the interval, with Richards and Milner both being denied by Slovenia shot-stopper Matjaz Rozman.
Michael Kightly and Tom Heaton were introduced at the break, and the former's chipped effort five minutes into the second period drew an agile save from Rozman.
Slovenia were then reduced to 10 men after Nejc Pecnik was dismissed for foul and abusive language amid claims for a spot-kick for the visitors.
England continued to create and Derbyshire was denied in the 77th minute as his low strike was expertly palmed away by Rozman, before Kightly saw his brilliant curling effort come back off the post.