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England's rain-soaked sojourn to Poland ended in disappointment as the Three Lions were held to a 1-1 draw in Warsaw. Kamil Gilk's strike 20 minutes from time drew the home side level after Wayne Rooney's opener just after the half-hour mark in the re-arranged fixture which was postponed by 24 hours due to a water-logged pitch on Tuesday. England still remain atop Group H with eight points, but Montenegro have a game in hand and are only a point behind in 2nd place while Poland are two adrift of the Montenegrins.
Roy Hodgson filled his side with senior pros for the Polish test as Steven Gerrard, Michael Carrick, Ashley Cole and Jermain Defoe started while Poland had the unmistakable presence of Robert Lewandowski in attack.
The English began the game fairly brightly as Defoe and Tom Cleverly created half-chances. The home side weren't far behind either as Lewandowski fired a warning shot across goal. Then Rooney opened the scoring in the 31st minute as he turned in Gerrard's in-swinging corner from the left, with his header taking a slight deflection off Lukasz Piszczek's shoulder. The Polish defence had gone to sleep from the set-piece as Rooney was allowed to head the ball from the centre of the penalty area without even leaving the ground.
The response from the home side was impressive nonetheless as they were the much better side from that point forward. England's perennial problems with possession allowed Poland to pile on the pressure after the break as Grosicki, Ludovic Obraniak and Piszczek all went close. And, when the equalizer arrived in the 70th minute it was again from a corner as Gilk powered Obraniak's precise delivery with a firm header. Joe Hart came out to 'no man's land', allowing Gilk to sneak ahead of his marker Joleon Lescott and plant a header into the back of the net. Buoyed by a boisterous home crowd the Poles went in search of a winner, but England held on valiantly in the closing stages to escape with a point.
Roy Hodgson will have mixed feelings after the result as his side managed to hold on to a point, but their overall performance was mediocre to say the least. Michael Carrick and Co. were very poor with their ball distribution, allowing Poland to pounce at every given opportunity. The game as a whole lacked a great deal of quality, but the Poles wouldn't mind as they could draw level with England by winning their game in hand. England might still be on top of the table, but after draws against Ukraine and now Poland, they cannot afford to drop points at home anymore.
Poland: Tyton; Piszczek, Wasilewski, Glik, Wawrzyniak; Krychowiak, Polanski; WszoÅ‚ek (Mierzejewski 63'), Obraniak (Borysiuk 90'), Grosicki (Milk 82'); Lewandowski
England: Hart, Johnson, Jagielka, Lescott, Cole, Milner, Gerrard, Carrick, Cleverley, Rooney (Oxlade-Chamberlain 73'), Defoe (Welbeck 67')
Final Score: Poland 1-1 England (Rooney 31', Gilk 70')
File Photograph Copyright:Â·Shaun Brooks
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