Just after the half-hour mark England had moved into a comfortable two goal lead but a lack of concentration just before the break allowed Montenegro back into the game and Fabio Capello’s team never regained their composure but clung on for the point needed to qualify for Euro 2012.
Ashley Young set them on their way with a close range header from Theo Walcott’s header and when that advantage was doubled through Darren Bent’s tap-in it looked a comfortable evening for the visitor’s.
But on the stroke of half-time England’s defence hesitated and Elsad Zverotic was given time to turn and shoot from inside the penalty area and with the aid of a deflection from Gary Cahill, found the back of the net.
England never recovered from this set back and it was Montenegro who looked the more threatening in the second-half and they guaranteed a play-off place in the final minute when Andrija Delibasic deservedly headed home at the far post.
The home side had already had an earlier confident penalty shout turned down after Phil Jones clumsy tackle on Stevan Jovetic but the turning point came with Rooneys dismissal.
In a throwback to his bad old days the Manchester United forward petulantly kicked-out at Miodrag Dzudovic in a moment of frustration leaving the German referee no alternative but to show straight red. Rooney will definitely now miss the first game of the Euro 2012 finals, with a second at the discretion of Uefa.
This handed the initiative back to the home side who already had gone close a couple of times before the dramatic late leveller which sent the crowd into raptures.
Referee: Wolfgang Stark (GER)
Venue: City Stadium, Podgorica
Montenegro scorers: Zverotic 45, Delibasic 90
England scorers: Young 10, Bent 30
Yellow cards: Jovanovic (MON), Jovetic (MON), Vucinic (MON), Delibasic (MON)
Red card: Rooney (ENG)
TRIBAL ASKS: England qualified but still doubts persist over their quality, and as for the actions of Wayne Rooney...