England have been fortunate to come away with a 1-1 draw in their UEFA World Cup qualifier against Ukraine at Wembley Stadium tonight.
Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions were outplayed by Oleh Blokhin’s outfit for much of the 90 minutes and managed to grab a point in their second group outing of the qualification process for the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
Ukraine started brightly and got their reward six minutes before half-time with the opening goal via Evgeni Konoplianka.
The dangerous Dnipro winger stepped inside Steven Gerrard from the left to bend a perfect shot into Joe Hart’s top left corner with his right foot from 22 yards.
Luckily though, England came hard at the Ukrainians late in the match and a lifeline materialised when Yevhen Khacheridi handballed in the area when Danny Welbeck attempted to chip the ball past him. Frank Lampard stepped up and emphatically smashed it past Andriy Pyatov for the leveller which was his ninth penalty conversion from 11 attempts for his country.
England captain Gerrard was sent off for a second bookable offence with two minutes remaining for his challenge on Denis Garmash but it had little effect on the outcome.
Earlier in proceedings, Jermain Defoe had the ball in the back of the net with a thunderous strike in the 10th minute but referee Cuneyt Cakir disallowed the goal because he adjudged the Tottenham man to have fouled Andriy Yarmolenko with a fend-off in the build-up.
In the 14th minute, Gerrard cleared off the line when Ukraine countered before Tom Cleverley had the best of his three first-half chances when he produced a huge miss from inches out when Defoe guided a diving header into his path but his first-time effort was hit straight at Pyatov.
On the stroke of half-time, Cleverley struck the upright from a tight angle before Glen Johnson forced a vital save from Pyatov with his low left-footed effort from the right in the 69th minute.
Another great chance for England came with less than ten minutes remaining when substitute Welbeck took a touch before hitting a volley at the upright with Pyatov well-beaten but in the end both sides had to settle for a share of the points.
Ukraine were extremely dangerous when they attacked on the counter and had a number of chances themselves with Blokhin also instilling plenty of defensive organisation into his players. They next meet Moldova in Chisinau on October 12.
England, who take on San Marino in London next month, drops to second on the Group H table behind Montenegro on goal difference following their 5-0 win over Moldova on Friday night whilst Ukraine open their account with a point which has them positioned fourth in the six-team group.