No birthday goal for Leeds United's Patrick Bamford as England labour to win over Andorra

There was no birthday goal for Leeds United's England debutant Patrick Bamford as the Three Lions laboured to a 4-0 win over minnows Andorra.

Sunday, 5th September 2021, 6:56 pm
Updated Sunday, 5th September 2021, 6:58 pm
FUTILE FURROW - Leeds United's Patrick Bamford made plenty of runs but his England team-mates struggled to find him in the 4-0 win over Andorra. Pic: Getty

The Whites striker endured a frustrating first hour of senior international football in the World Cup Qualifier, a lack of service giving him little chance of Wembley joy before he was replaced by Harry Kane.

A goal in each half from Jesse Lingard, Kane's penalty and a late Bukayo Saka header secured three points for a much-changed Gareth Southgate side.

Bamford was one of 11 players to come into the line-up, his Leeds team-mate Kalvin Phillips dropping to the bench for the first time in 10 England outings.

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The hosts' first half-chance came from a nice ball from Bamford into a gap, inviting Lingard to run in behind the Andorra defence, goalkeeper Josep Gómes out quickly to deny the Manchester United man.

Saka came close on 16 minutes, his low shot sliding just past the post as a flag mysteriously went up, but Lingard soon had the ball in the net, firing home Saka's deflected cross after good work from Jude Bellingham.

Another deft touch from Bamford released Lingard to lob Gómes only for the offside flag to deny England a second.

With half an hour gone Bamford finally had a chance to threaten the visitors' goal, peeling off his markers to stretch out a leg in an unsuccessful attempt to reach Saka's curling through ball.

A compact defensive shape made it tricky for England to turn dominance into clear-cut chances, Bamford making runs repeatedly without being found by team-mates.

For all the possession and territory enjoyed by England in the first half, Andorra made it to half-time just the one goal down, the game becoming scrappy and stop-start before the break.

The second half began with England pressing intently for a second, Reece James rattling the crossbar from distance, Bamford coming close to a connection on a low Saka cross from the right and then nodding down for Lingard to spin and blast over.

Bamford continued to make runs that weren't spotted or found by team-mates, ploughing an industrious yet ultimately futile furrow until the hour mark, when Harry Kane took his place up font.

With 20 minutes remaining England finally created something of note, replacements Jack Grealish and Mason Mount combining in the area, the latter going down to win a penalty. Kane stepped up and buried the spot-kick to double the hosts' lead.

The game continued to lack spark however, England continuing to struggle to break Andorra down, until Grealish's diagonal run across the pitch pulled the visitors out of shape and left space for Lingard to pick his spot from distance to make it 3-0.

In the final minutes Saka, also celebrating his birthday, headed home a fourth from Lingard's cross, to give the scoreline a more respectable look for the Three Lions.