WCQ: Lallana saves the day for Big Sam

WCQ: Lallana saves the day for Big Sam
United Bank for Africa

Adam Lallana scored with the last kick of the match as England edged Slovakia 1-0 in Sam Allardyce’s first game as manager in World Cup qualifying on Sunday.

Despite Slovakia having Martin Skrtel sent off in the 57th minute, Allardyce looked destined to become the first England manager since Bobby Robson in 1982 not to win his first game in charge.

But in the fifth minute of stoppage time at Trnava’s City Arena, Lallana squeezed a shot between Slovakia goalkeeper Matus Kozacik’s legs to get England up and running in Group F.

Allardyce, nicknamed ‘Big Sam’, succeeded Roy Hodgson after England’s humiliating Euro 2016 elimination by Iceland.

Kozacik’s gaffe enabled him to become the ninth England manager to start his tenure with a win.

Lallana’s goal spared England from a repeat of the result from their group-stage encounter with Slovakia at Euro 2016.

It also meant that captain Wayne Rooney finished as a winner on a night when he won his 116th cap to become England’s most-capped outfield player.

Allardyce had vowed that Rooney would no longer play as a number 10 on his watch, but the captain nonetheless lined up in midfield beside Jordan Henderson in a 4-1-4-1 system.

With Raheem Sterling hugging the touchline on the right and Lallana flitting infield from the left, it left lone striker Harry Kane isolated.

It took England until mid-way through the first half to present Kane with anything approaching a shooting chance and when Kyle Walker picked him out at the near post, the No 9 missed his kick.