European Championship 2008 Qualifiers ? Macedonia 0:one England by Steven Cronin -

Steve McClaren?s completely record as boss continued as England ground out a very uninspiring victory in Macedonia.

The long legs of Peter Crouch were enough to deliver England home pleased with the 3 points and top spot in Group E.

Until the breakthrough at the beginning of the 2nd half, a lot of the 2,000 England fans present in the stadium will have watched with apprehension because the team entrusted to bring a bright new post-Eriksson era didn't stop working a stubborn Macedonian defence fresh from an opening day victory against Estonia.

The game started in scrappy fashion, the opening 20 min a succession of free kicks whistled by an over-fussy referee.

The fact neither team could string two passes together hardly helped the game like a spectacle.

England?s patient build-up play was greeted by way of a chorus of boos and jeers coming from a partisan home crowd who burned the here flag of St George and abused black players during England?s previous visit.

England?s main attacking threat originated from Steven Gerrard.

The Liverpool skipper looks dangerous about the right hand side and contains an extremely greater influence on a game compared to ousted David Beckham.

But the greatest plus for England in recent games may be the emergence of Owen Hargreaves.

The defensive midfielder may be a revelation in their role just in front of the back four.

The young Bayern Munich players runs tirelessly, splitting up opposition attacks and establishing the following England have fun with an easy ball to 1 from the more creative players.

Unfortunately, Frank Lampard?s affect on a game title seems to diminish each time England play.

The Chelsea man seems to have lost his way somewhat recently as well as a dramatic come back to form to stop his devote the team coming under threat.

But England can look to the return from your surface of a moderate group.

The McClaren era is well under way though the tougher tests are yet into the future.

Steven Cronin writes the latest English Premiership Football news, results and opinion at

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