Craig Dawson nets the only goal of the game from the spot as England U21s put one foot in the Euro 2013 finals.
Last Updated: 12/10/12 8:54pm
England U21s opened up a narrow lead against Serbia in their play-off first leg
Craig Dawson's penalty gave England U21s a slim advantage after the first leg of their Euro 2013 play-off against Serbia at Carrow Road.
Dawson lashed in a 65th-minute spot-kick after Adam Smith had been tripped just inside the box, and Stuart Pearce's side held on to take a valuable lead to Krusevac on Tuesday.
The early stages were dominated by a flurry of yellow cards as the visitors attempted to impose themselves, and England should have taken the lead when an unmarked Tom Ince headed wide from Danny Rose's flighted cross.
Jack Rodwell warmed the hands of Serbia goalkeeper Branimir Aleksic, who then raced out to smother at the feet of Ince as he burst clean through.
Serbia responded with a Luka Milunovic header that drifted narrowly past the top corner, while the lively Ince curled just wide at the other end.
Aleksic did well to beat Wilfried Zaha's piledriver to safety in the second half, but England broke the deadlock moments later when Milunovic's late lunge upended Smith and Dawson's penalty was too powerful for Aleksic to reach.
The hosts almost doubled their lead when Zaha slotted wide after good work from Andros Townsend, and Steven Caulker's header was met with a superb one-handed save from Aleksic.
Dawson then denied Serbia a late equaliser when he threw himself in front of Djordje Despotovic's drive to pull off an outstanding block and ensure Pearce's side would start the return leg with the upper hand.
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group One
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European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Seven
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European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Ten
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