Wickham winner for Young Lions
Pearce's men secure top spot and seeding in play-off draw
Last Updated: 11/09/12 8:03am
Connor Wickham: Netted the only goal of the game against Norway
England's U21s will head into the 2013 European Championship play-offs on a high after a solitary effort from Connor Wickham saw them edge out Norway.
A 1-0 victory at Chesterfield's Proact Stadium over their nearest challengers ensured that the Young Lions finished top of Group Eight.
Both sides were, however, already assured of a play-off berth heading into the game, with other results going their way.
It was, however, important for Stuart Pearce's side to pick up a win and ensure they that will be seeded in the draw - handing them a theoretically easier passage to the finals.
Pearce made five changes from the side that started Thursday's 2-0 win over Azerbaijan.
Jason Steele returned in goal after missing out through illness in Baku, meaning Ben Amos replaced Declan Rudd on the bench.
Ryan Bennett came in at centre-half for the suspended Craig Dawson while midfielder Ben Marshall made his full debut in place of the injured Jason Lowe.
Wickham and Martyn Waghorn were preferred in attack ahead of Wilfred Zaha and Marvin Sordell, who were both among the substitutes.
Waghorn saw a thunderous left-foot shot pushed away by Norway goalkeeper Arild Ostbo in the sixth minute before Bennett headed over from the resulting corner.
Tom Ince looked like he would put England ahead when he sneaked in between the Norwegian defence and keeper on the half-hour mark.
The Blackpool midfielder managed to clip the ball goalwards past Ostbo but it rolled off target.
Wickham showed Ince how it was done after 43 minutes.
The Sunderland striker latched onto a defensive mistake and, bearing down on goal, tucked away his chance well from close-range.
It was the 19-year-old's first goal since October last year.
Norway started to come into the game after half-time and substitute Yann-Erik de Lanlay shot narrowly wide on the hour and ten minutes later Nielsen rattled Steele's crossbar.
Norway almost caught England out again in the 73rd minute. Omar Elabdellaoui broke clear and flicked the ball wide to Mushaga Bakenga but his cross-shot was diverted over for a corner.
With nine minutes remaining, a strike at goal from Harmeet Singh 25-yards out had Steele stretching but the Middlesbrough keeper grabbed the ball at the second attempt.
Man of the match Danny Rose joined Shelvey in collecting a needless yellow card after kicking the ball away as England withstood some more late pressure to hold on for the win.
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying
Mon 10th Sep - Group One
Belarus U211 - 0San Marino U21
Greece U211 - 0Cyprus U21
Bosnia U214 - 4Germany U21
Mon 10th Sep - Group Three
Czech R U215 - 0Wales U21
Montenegro U210 - 0Armenia U21
Mon 10th Sep - Group Six
Russia U212 - 2Moldova U21
Poland U210 - 0Portugal U21
Mon 10th Sep - Group Nine
Slovakia U216 - 0Kaz'stan U21
Latvia U210 - 4Romania U21
Mon 10th Sep - Group Ten
Austria U213 - 2Scotland U21
Lux'bourg U211 - 3Bulgaria U21
Mon 10th Sep - Group Seven
Italy U212 - 4Rep Ire U21
Hungary U212 - 0Liec'stein U21
Mon 10th Sep - Group Four
Serbia U215 - 1Macedonia U21
Denmark U213 - 0N Ireland U21
Mon 10th Sep - Group Two
Sweden U212 - 1Ukraine U21
Lithuania U211 - 3Finland U21
Mon 10th Sep - Group Eight
England U211 - 0Norway U21
Belgium U215 - 0Iceland U21
Mon 10th Sep - Group Five
Spain U216 - 0Croatia U21
Switzerland U213 - 0Estonia U21
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group One
|6||San Marino U21||9||4|
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Two
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Three
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Four
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Five
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Six
|4||Rep of Ireland U21||7||8|
|5||Faroe Islands U21||7||1|
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Seven
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Eight
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Nine
|5||N Ireland U21||7||3|
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Ten
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Eleven
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Twelve
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Thirteen
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Fourteen