England are one step away from qualification for the 2023 UEFA European Championship after a 3-0 win over ten-man Albania at the Technique Stadium.
The Young Lions dominated proceedings and eventually found the breakthrough just before half time thanks to Folarin Balogun.
The home side played with the same intensity in the second half and grabbed a couple of goals through Balogun and Cameron Archer. – Armando Dobra was also shown a red card for Albania.
Lee Carsley’s men started on the front foot; Anthony Gordon cut in from the left early on before seeing his powerful effort parried away by Bruno Puja and eventually cleared by the Albania defence.
England continued to pile on the early pressure. Gordon’s wicked cross fell to Gomes, but the Lille midfielder saw his shot cannon off the outside of a post.
Gordon, who plies his trade at Everton, was threatening down the left side and he once again produced a fantastic, whipped cross that was headed wide by Emile Smith Rowe.
Albania were presented with a golden chance 23 minutes in. Josef Bursik’s clearance fell straight to Armando Dobra, but his deflected effort was scrambled away by Bursik who got back in time.
The Young Lions kept looking for the opener, but saw efforts by Gordon, Gomes and Thomas Doyle drift wide of the goal.
The opener eventually came late in the first half. Smith-Rowe capitalised on a mistake by the Albania defence before squaring the ball to Arsenal team-mate Balogun who tapped into an empty net.
England continued to control possession and create the chances in the second period. Doyle’s early free-kick just about evaded everyone and whistled past the post.
However, the second goal wasn’t far behind and came in the 66th minute. Substitute Morgan Gibbs-White floated a cross to the back post, Charlie Cresswell sent a header back across goal and Balogun was there again to nod home.
Albania almost found an instant reply when Ernest Muci’s 25-yard piledriver was tipped away by Bursik.
Gordon continued to cause trouble down the left-hand side and soon found Cameron Archer, who replaced Balogun, and the Aston Villa striker diverted the ball past Puja.
It went from bad to worse soon after for Albania when Dobra cynically brought down Gordon who was making a break down the left side. Icelandic referee Ivar Orri Kristjansson had no choice but to show the midfielder a second yellow card.
England: Bursik; Spence, Cresswell, Harwood-Bellis ©, Johnson (Thomas 83); Jones (Garner 69), Smith Rowe (Gibbs-White 61), Doyle; Gomes, Balogun (Archer 69), Gordon (Lewis-Potter 83).
Unused Substitutes: Trafford, Aarons, Hill, Ramsey