Dean dazzles for England

TOWN striker Dean Bowditch was on form last night as England came away from a Carrow Road friendly with a 1-1 draw against the Czech Republic.Bowditch, making his first playing return to Norwich since his league debut in March last year, set up Derby's Lee Holmes for the equaliser 11 minutes from time but it was a game that failed to spark into life despite the efforts of the Norwich faithful.

By Nick Richards

TOWN striker Dean Bowditch was on form last night as England came away from a Carrow Road friendly with a 1-1 draw against the Czech Republic.

Bowditch, making his first playing return to Norwich since his league debut in March last year, set up Derby's Lee Holmes for the equaliser 11 minutes from time but it was a game that failed to spark into life despite the efforts of the Norwich faithful.

The sell-out crowd set a new record for an England youth international and, packed with youngsters who took advantage of the low entry fee, cheered on Canary starlet Ryan Jarvis up front with Aston Villa's Luke Moore.

Bowditch, who had feared the Norwich crowd would boo him, played on the left wing for most of the game and was involved in the early action as the game limped into life.

Both teams had few chances in the first half but the home side made much of the early attacking with Bowditch as lively as anybody.

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In the first half he gave the crowd a reminder of his famous Ipswich debut 19 months ago. On that occasion he skimmed past Craig Fleming before sending the ball into the area and last night he caught the Czech Republic defence unaware as he weaved his way down the left flank to send a dangerous ball into the box.

But neither Bowditch or Jarvis could find an opening past the resolute Czech defence and at the other end Milton Keynes Dons keeper, David Martin, had nothing much to worry him and Manchester United youngster Tom Heaton replaced him at half-time.

Bowditch and Jarvis teamed up in a two-pronged East Anglian strike force in the early stages of the second half but despite England's dominance in the final third, it was the visitors who took the lead from a set-piece.

The Czechs' won their first corner of the game in the 70th minute and poor marking enabled Martin Fillo to steam into the box and head home Malcharek's flag kick.

The young Lions drew level nine minutes later when Bowditch sent over a wonderful low cross from the right for Derby's Lee Holmes to stroke in at the far post.

After the game Bowditch said: “I was really happy with the Norwich crowd in the end. I could hear Ryan Jarvis getting a standing ovation when his name was read out, then mine was next and they were still clapping but then I heard the boos.

“But it was nice of them to lay off me as they recognised I was playing for my country and not for Ipswich. It was a fantastic crowd that supported us 100 per cent.

“The ball was zipping about and I got some good ball and that helped my confidence. I was happy with my performance and the team performance was good too.

“The goal was good but we could have killed them off early on and we were disappointed with conceding the goal but in the end we got a result.”

England: Martin (Heaton, 46) Ifil, Taylor, Leadbitter, Bates, Cranie, Morrison (Fryatt, 63) Huddlestone (Jones, 86) Moore (Holmes, 55) Jarvis and Bowditch. Subs not used: Jones, Taylor, Mills and Giddings.

Czech Republic: Svenger, Ciganek, Simunek, Rosa Lisicky, 90) Filip, Svec, Holek (Chlup, 90) Fillo (Honka, 73) Borek (Sedlacek, 80) Malcharek (Simil, 87) and Fenin (Rajtoral, 65): Subs not used: Lisicky, Chlub and Divis.

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