England frustrated in disappointing draw

England's Frank Lampard rescued a point with a late penalty against Ukraine

England's Frank Lampard rescued a point with a late penalty against Ukraine

First published in National Sport News © by

Frank Lampard rescued a point for England with a late penalty in the World Cup qualifier with Ukraine, which ended 1-1 at Wembley.

England fell behind to a superb strike from star midfielder Yevgen Konoplianka seven minutes before the interval.

But Lampard equalled Bryan Robson's tally of 26 goals for his country after Yevhen Khacheridi handled, before England skipper Steven Gerrard was then sent off for his second bookable offence - although the damage is not too bad as the Liverpool man will only misses the visit of San Marino next month.

Ukraine will be cursing a missed opportunity, though, as Oleg Blokhin's men came agonisingly close to what would have been a deserved victory. Only three minutes had elapsed when Oleg Gusev's cross flicked off Leighton Baines, dipped over Joe Hart and clipped the outside of a post. Joleon Lescott cleared another Gusev cross, then Roman Zozulya failed to capitalise on Konoplianka's neat approach work.

It might have been different had Jermain Defoe's thunderous effort not been ruled out. Defoe's disbelief was obvious. Yet it was also beyond doubt he had shoved a textbook rugby hand-off into the neck of Andriy Yarmolenko, who made the most of it.

Defoe then showed admirable unselfishness when he opted to steer Gerrard's cross back into the six-yard box rather than go for goal himself from an acute angle. Tom Cleverley raced in, looking certain to gobble up the chance with only Andrei Pyatov to beat but the Manchester United man fired straight at the Ukraine goalkeeper, whose reactions were up to the task.

Cleverley then flicked Lampard's pass well wide from a good position, before, as if underlining the folly of Hodgson's comparison with Cesc Fabregas, lifting the ball against the outside of a post from Milner's pass.

Amid the personal anguish, Ukraine had seized the initiative. After Denys Garmash had let England off the hook by heading over when he crept into space to meet Yevgen Selin's cross, Konoplianka showed them no mercy when stepping inside Gerrard and sending a 25-yard effort curling over Hart and into the top corner.

In a second-half littered with yellow cards - six of them for England including Gerrard's double caution - Leighton Baines needed to make a timely intervention to prevent Zozulya reaching Konoplianka's cross.

The introductions of Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge were inevitable given how the game was panning out for England. Welbeck almost profited from Sturridge's cross nine minutes from time, but prodded against a post. But redemption came shortly afterwards, with Lampard converting from the spot, just as he did in Chisinau on Friday against Moldova.

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