England U21s ease to victory over nine-man Austria
Last Updated: 17/05/13 5:47pm
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England Under-21s notched a ninth consecutive victory as they beat nine-man Austria 4-0 at the Amex Stadium.
Austria competed well early on but goalkeeper Richard Strebinger's dismissal for handball in the 37th minute left them with a numerical disadvantage and Jonjo Shelvey broke the deadlock for Stuart Pearce's side before half-time.
Josh McEachran added a second from the penalty spot early in the second half after Patrick Farkas had been sent off, and further goals from Marvin Sordell and Connor Wickham sealed a convincing win as England continued their ideal preparations for the European U21 Championship in the summer.
Much like Thursday's 3-0 defeat of Romania in Wycombe, the hosts looked nervous in a slow start.
It took a moment of individual brilliance from Raheem Sterling to create the evening's first chance, with the Liverpool winger jinking past several defenders before sending a cross-shot just wide.
Andros Townsend saw an effort blocked as England pressed for an opener, which would have come at the other end had Jason Steele not reacted quickly to deny Raphael Holzhauser at his near post.
It was a warning shot the home side failed to heed, with the following corner leading to a strike that would have gone in had Danny Rose not reacted smartly.
Play was swinging from end to end until a mishap by goalkeeper Strebinger changed the complexion of the game. Having handled outside the box, referee Adrien Jaccottet sent off the Austria goalkeeper on the instruction of his assistant and Shelvey smashed home the resulting free-kick from the edge of the box.
Replacement Christoph Riegler may have been unable to deny that strike but earned his crust in first-half stoppage time, tipping over a fantastic Nathaniel Chalobah volley.
Austria were on the back foot yet again when play resumed and saw any hopes of a comeback ended when Farkas was sent off for a second bookable offence three minutes in.
McEachran, on just moments earlier, stepped up to slot home the resulting spot-kick and kick off a half of complete England dominance.
Shelvey and Townsend threatened as the hosts chased a third, which unsurprisingly came in the 66th minute when substitute Sordell slotted home a fine cut-back by Wickham.
The Sunderland striker came close to volleying home another five minutes later and soon got the goal he craved, rounding the goalkeeper to slot home England's fourth.
Sordell curled wide as the hosts looked for another and, despite a late Austria effort, the match ended comfortably for Pearce's men.