This was the perfect result for Eriksson in what was his 50th game in charge of England, although his concern will only have been the three points at stake. A flurry of goals in the second half gave
England a boost after not scoring so many goals since their Euro 2004 match against Croatia last June. The number of goals scored at Old Trafford was a welcome sight
and the team provided much entertainment for the fans.
England dominated the game, and in the first half they were unlucky not to get on the score sheet. Michael Owen unfortunately wasted a good opportunity to open the
scoreline when his shot went straight at Northern Ireland's goalkeeper, Taylor. Youngster, Wayne Rooney, was denied a goal when his header, following a cross from Gary
Neville, hit the woodwork and was cleared away by Baird. A moment later, the Manchester United striker, was unlucky again when his shot was knocked out of play by
Taylor for a corner to England.
Northern Ireland briefly pressured England in the latter stages of the first half, however John Terry cleared the danger for England. Before the opening period came
to a conclusion, Taylor was put to the test again by England, and once again the 'keeper was able to pull off a great save, this time from Lampard.
With just over a minute on the clock in the second half England got the goal they deserved. A mistake by
Capaldi saw Joe Cole pick up the ball and curl it into the far corner of Taylor's net. Owen made the scoreline 2-0 in the 52nd minute after Lampard made good ground down
the left of the field, passing to Rooney, who in turn played the ball to the Real Madrid player who slotted home his 29th goal, taking him to equal 7th place in the
list of top goalscorers for England. Owen was claiming another goal a minute later, however it was actually an own goal by Baird, after Rooney again had a hand in
the action, seeking out his fellow-striker.
Frank Lampard scoring ability, as well as play-maker, continued to roll on today at Old Trafford when he netted his 8th goal in 31 appearances for his country.
Lampard did have help from Murdock when the Chelsea midfielder's shot was deflected into the goal by the Northern Ireland player. It did seem for a while that the
goal may by accredited to Murdock but it stands as Lampard's goal.
It wasn't until the 72nd minute of the match when Paul Robinson had to make his first save of the game. It wasn't much of a test for the Tottenham 'keeper who easily
smoothered Healy's shot.
With another three points secured, England remain in first place in EUFA's qualifying group 6 for next year's World Cup in Germany. The gap between them and second
placed, Poland, is only one point so England cannot hold back against Azerbaijan on Wednesday. It seems that top position in this group could go to the last game when
England play Poland.
Robinson #1, G Neville #2, Terry #6, Ferdinand #5, A Cole #3, Beckham #7 (Dyer 71 mins - #15), Gerrard #4 (Hargreaves 71 mins - #16),
Lampard #8, J Cole #11, Rooney #9 (Defoe 80 mins - #18), Owen #10.
Subs Not Used: James #13, Carragher #12, King #14, Heskey #17. (Full Squad)
Taylor #1, Baird #2, Hughes #18, Murdock #5, Capaldi #3, Gillespie #7, Whitley #10 (Jones 88 mins - #15), Johnson #6, Doherty #8 (Davis 59 mins - #14), Elliott #11,
Healy #9 (Kirk 88 mins).
Subs Not Used: Carroll #12, Williams #4, Feeney #16, Craigan #17.
England Goals: J Cole (47 mins), Owen (52 mins), Baird og (54 mins), Lampard (62 mins).
Northern Ireland Caution: Johnson
Referee: Wolfgang Stark (Germany)