A good start to a new season, England, especially David Beckham, were in fine form at Newcastle as they thumped Ukraine with three unanswered goals. Putting their Euro 2004 disappointment behind them. The only disappointment of the night was that there wasn't a full house at St James' Park - the first time there hasn't been a sell-out since England have been on the road round the country, so to speak, while the new stadium in Wembley is being built.
The game could have been off to a different start in the 4th minute when David James failed to keep hold of the ball after a strike by Husyev, however thankfully no Ukraine player was around to punish the England goalkeeper by following up and taking advantage of the error. Then Roran took a shot at England's goal but his attempt went over the crossbar.
Frank Lampard had England's first clear chance of the evening when he vollyed the ball towards Ukraine's goal, but Shovkovsky was able to make the stop which went straight too him. This was after Gary Neville had crossed the ball to Alan Smith, who in turn headed the ball to Lampard. England's opening goal came from captain, Beckham, who had not scored for his country in 11 months, and
not from open play in almost two years. This was not a typical Beckham goal. He was in a position normally where we would see Owen - up front. John Terry ran with the ball from midfield and crossed the ball where Beckham slid to get his foot out to direct the ball into the goal from five yards out.
The goal boosted England as the team looked lively after scoring. After the half-time break England extended their lead through Michael Owen, which has taken his goal tally to 27 and pushed him to equal 9th place in the all-time England highest scorer table, level with David Platt. Beckham crossed the ball for Owen to head into the net, giving England a comfortable lead.
Jermaine Defoe saw two shots fail to hit the target when his first attempt went wide, and Shovkovsky saved the second. England's third and final goal came from Shaun Wright-Phillips on his debut. Blazing from the half-way line, Wright-Phillips beat Rusol and belted a low shot into the corner of the net. A sweet goal for the youngester which had his step-dad going wild in the stands, who is none other than former England striker Ian Wright.
The end of another friendly and England now turn to their World Cup 2006 qualifiers which begin early next month.
James, G Neville (Johnson 46 mins), King, Terry, A Cole (Carragher 60 mins), Beckham, Lampard (Jenas 73 mins), Butt (Dyer 46 mins), Gerrard (Wright-Phillips 55 mins), Smith (Defoe 46 mins), Owen.
Subs Not Used: Robinson, Upson, Hargreaves, Vassell, Kirkland. (Full Squad)
Shovkovsky, Federov, Rusol, Yezerskyi, Nesmachny (Radchenko 63 mins), Tymoschuk, Shelayev, Vorobey, Rotan (Zakarliuca 67 mins), Husev (Kormiltsev 63 mins),
Shevchenko (Voronin 53 mins).
Subs Not Used: Gusev, Rebrov, Nazarenko, Matiukhim, Reva.
England Goals: Beckham (28 mins), Owen (50 mins), Wright-Phillips (70 mins)
Ukraine Cautions: Rusol, Tymoschuk, Vorobey
Referee: M McCurry (Scotland)