England grind out victory | The Daily Dust delivering the best bric a brac, daily news and events with a British flavour

England made hard work of their 2-1 victory over Finland in the opening game of the UEFA European Under 21 Championship in Sweden.

Lee Cattermole put the Young Lions ahead in the 15th minute, before Tim Sparv equalised from the spot after Michael Mancienne was sent for an early bath.

England ground out the win though, thanks to a thumping header from Micah Richards.

It was Finland who started the better though and their physical prescence was causing problems to the English defence.

However, much against the run of play, it was England who took the lead.

Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlohar capitalised on a defensive error before squaring for Cattermole, who netted his first Under 21 goal on 15 minutes.

Stuart Pearce’s men barely deserved their lead and Finland were given a lifeline on the half hour mark.

Michael Mancienne failed to deal with the strength of Sadik and could only prevent him by man handling him and the referee awarded the spot kick and issued Mancienne with a red card.

Finland skipper Tom Sparv, who began his career at Southampton alongside Theo Walcott, made no mistake from the spot to draw the underdogs level.

England began the second half well and fully deserved to take the lead on 53 minutes.

Manchester City defender Micah Richards rose well to fire home a bullet header from a James Milner corner.

England will know they are capable of a lot better, but will also know they are off to a good start, after picking up all three points, with ten men.

Stuart Pearce’s men take on Spain on Thursday (7.45pm)

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