29.05.2013 at 15:00 Wembley Stadium
1 - 1
Republic of Ireland
Referee: William Collum
Friendly / Prog-match
The Republic of Ireland began their end of season campaign with a well-deserved draw over England at Wembley in the first meeting of the sides since 1995 when the fixture at Lansdowne Road had to be abandoned after English fans started rioting following David Kelly's opener for Ireland.
A sublime 13th minute opener from striker Shane Long was cancelled out ten minutes later by Frank Lampard and although England had the better chances after that they were denied victory by some superb goalkeeping from David Forde.
The result means that Ireland is now unbeaten in four games in 2013 and they will get a chance to extend that to five on Sunday when they face Georgia at the Aviva Sradium before facing Faroe Islands on Friday week in a vital FIFA World Cup qualifier.
From the moment the teams took the pitch it was immediately evident that circumstances have changed considerably over the last 18 years and both national anthems were treated with respect with the near capacity crowd which included over 10,000 Irish fans.
Ireland capitalised on a steady opening and stunned the hosts by scoring the opening goal after 13 minutes. A good build-up on the right which was started by McGeady ended with Seamus Coleman swinging in a cross that was met by the rising Shane Long and he sent a brilliant header flying past the outstretched arm of Joe Hart and into the far corner.
That goal left the English somewhat shell-shocked and Hart had to be quick to pick off a low Walters cross before it connected with Robbie Keane's boot.
The England equaliser after 23 minutes came against the run of play and from an Irish point of view was a poor goal to concede. Daniel Sturridge worked his way into the edge of the area from the left wing and then poked the ball into the six yard box where Sean St Leger swung a boot and missed. The ball was met by Frank Lampard, who had made a great run from midfield, and he controlled it before slipping it past David Forde.
St Leger redeemed himself somewhat with a last ditch tackle on Theo Walcott after he had been put clear by Glenn Johnston and then Forde saved from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, before Walcott skinned Kelly and Coleman got in a vital clearance.
The Irish did create a few chances with McGeady shooting wide from 25 yards and Walters miscueing after a Keane knockdown while Scottish referee Willie Collum waved away strong penalty appeals on the stroke of half-time after Wayne Rooney appeared to haul Robbie Keane to the ground following a McGeady corner.
England, who had to replace Daniel Sturridge after 33 minutes with Jermaine Defoe, brought on Ben Foster for Joe Harte and Phil Jones for Glenn Johnston at half-time and then replaced skipper for the night, Ashley Cole, with Leighton Baines on 53 minutes.
They were a much improved side in the second half and, after 50 minutes, it took the outstretched legs of Coleman and O'Shea to cut out a Theo Walcott cross as Cole prepared to connect.
A good break out of defence in the 64th minute ended with Walcott's low drive being pushed around the post for a corner by Forde and a few minutes later he again forced a good save from the Irish goalkeeper.
Giovanni Trapattoni started making his changes after 66 minutes and in three quick substitutions he brought on Simon Cox, James McClean and Jeff Hendrick for Robbie Keane, Aiden McGeady and Glenn Whelan respectively.
The changes certainly helped Ireland and they started to be more of a handful going forward for England and McClean went close with a curling free-kick before the offside flag saved Foster's blushes after he failed to gather a dropping ball under pressure.
Conor Sammon was introduced for Jonathon Walters on 82 minutes and moved inside to partner Long with Simon Cox moving to the right side of midfield.
England had a great chance to win the game in the 83rd minute when, after a great run by Theo Walcott, the ball broke kindly for Oxlade-Chamberlain but Forde advanced quickly off his line and deflected the Arsenal player's first time shot over the crossbar with his left knee.
Three minutes Forde again came to Ireland's rescue with another great save, this time denying Theo Walcott with his feet at the near post.
The excellent Seamus Coleman was named as Man of the Match.
England: Joe Hart (Ben Foster 46), Glen Johnson (Phil Jones 46), Phil Jagielka, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole (Leighton Baines 53), Frank Lampard, Michael Carrick, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (James Milner 87), Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge (Jermaine Defoe 33).
Republic of Ireland: David Forde, Seamus Coleman, John O'Shea, Stephen Kelly, Sean St Ledger, James McCarthy, Glenn Whelan (Jeff Hendrick 74), Jon Walters (Conor Sammon 82), Aiden McGeady (James McClean 68), Shane Long, Robbie Keane (Simon Cox 66)