England U21s sink Bulgaria
Pearce's men claim victory in qualifier
Last Updated: September 11, 2007 11:06pm
Noble: On target
Goals from Tom Huddlestone and Mark Noble guided England U21s to a 2-0 victory over Bulgaria U21s in Sofia.
Stuart Pearce's side continued their perfect start to Euro 2009 qualification as they coped well with the slippery conditions in heavy rain.
Spurs midfielder Huddlestone opened the scoring and Noble added a second to put England in control before the break.
Having defeated Montenegro on Friday, Pearce's side have enjoyed their opening two games, although Noble was booked again to rule him out of the next qualifier.
England goalkeeper Joe Hart had dealt with a couple of long-range efforts easily but his opposite number was having problems, with the teeming rain having a part in the 25th-minute opener.
James Milner made tracks down the right before backheeling to Noble, who picked out Huddlestone on the edge of the area with his cross.
The Spurs midfielder clipped a volley first time and it skidded through Nikolay Mihaylov, the Liverpool goalkeeper currently on loan at FC Twente.
Bulgaria looked more comfortable going forward and Martin Crainie had to time a challenge to perfection in the area on Valeri Domovchiyski after Nikolay Dimitrov played him through following an exciting run.
Domovchiyski also shaved the post twice with efforts from the edge of the area, but England showed a more clinical edge to their finishing.
They doubled their lead in the 32nd minute after Gabriel Agbonlahor raced down the left. The ball was eventually worked to Matt Derbyshire, who slipped Noble through to shimmy past Mihaylov and finish for his first U21 goal.
Mihaylov had to parry a Huddlestone free-kick to safety to keep the score down before the break and he also had to turn Derbyshire's diving header around the post.
Hart had to save a long-range effort from Domovchiyski early in the second period, while Theo Walcott went wide from a similar distance.
Agbonlahor should have made it 3-0 when Milner played him through but Mihaylov saved well, then Derbyshire's impish chip lobbed wide.
Derbyshire had an effort blocked in the six-yard box, while Huddlestone went wide when he raced through in the final stages, and Luke Moore came on and had an effort saved.