Davis scores

Saturday 10 November 2001

Netherlands U21 2 (2) - England U21 2 (1)

Fulham midfielder Sean Davis gave England a lifeline in first-half injury-time with a well-taken header for his first international goal after the English had gone 2-0 down in a crucial qualifier.

Netherlands started the game well and Patrick Ax should really have put them in front with 16 minutes gone but looped his header hopelessly over the crossbar from an Andy van der Meyde's cross, but his side did not have to wait much longer for their opening goal.

Kuyt was proving a real handful in the England box, and van der Vaart cashed in on 25 minutes when, as the white shirts tried to regroup after the latest in a series of Kuyt-inspired assaults, he turned smartly to prod a shot past Chris Kirkland.

It could have been 2-0 10 minutes later when Ledley King was rescued by Terry after his slip allowed Youssouf Hersi in on goal, but the respite was only temporary as van der Vaart's quickly taken free-kick came back off the post for Kuyt to slot the rebound home.

As the end of the first half loomed the writing looked to be on the wall for England until the classic set piece goal from Fulham's Sean Davis.

Dunn served warning of his ability to run at defenders within two minutes of the restart when he surged through the orange shirts to test ten Rouwelaar, but he went one better when he repeated the dose 11 minutes later.

Shola Ameobi, on for Christie, laid the ball into his path around 45 yards out and watched the Blackburn man score a brilliant solo goal with an inch-perfect shot into the bottom corner.

It was just what Platt's side needed and they grew visibly in confidence as the minutes ticked away.

Kuyt was seeing too little of the ball to hurt the visitors and van der Vaart and van der Schaaf were becoming increasingly marginalised by the hard-working Davis and Carrick.

But the Dutch were far from giving up on their hopes of victory and made Platt's youngsters scrap for every ball.

Striker Jermain Defoe got his first real sight of goal 12 minutes from time and unselfishly squared the ball for Dunn, but the skipper delayed his shot too long and the chance had gone.

Netherlands rallied again late in the day with van der Vaart firing over at the death, but the visitors stood firm to claim the draw for which they had battled so hard.

The draw sends England into Tuesday's return leg at Pride Park with everything to play for, although they know they will have to start better on home soil than they did in Utrecht if all their hard work is to count for anything.

Holland U21:
Rouwelaar, Mendes Da Silva, van Nieuwstadt, Knol, Bosschaart, van der Schaaf, van der Meyde (Heitinga 45), van der Vaart, Kuyt, Hersi (Denneboom 83), Ax (Boussaboun 83).
Subs Not Used: Mathijssen, de Vries, Zonneveld, Wisgerhof.

Booked: van Nieuwstadt, Ax. Goals: van der Vaart 25, Kuyt 37.

England U21:
Kirkland, Young, Bridge, Carrick, Terry (Barry 81), King, Pennant, Davis, Christie (Ameobi 31), Defoe, Dunn.

Subs Not Used: Robinson, Greening, Chadwick, Wright, Prutton.

Booked: Terry. Goals: Davis 45, Dunn 57.

Att: 14,500 Ref: Paulo Costa (Portugal).