Duo Open With Draws

by Adam Clark

Everton defender Tyias Browning played the full 90 minutes as 10-man England opened their European Under-19 Championship Elite Round qualifying campaign with a 1-1 draw against Georgia on Friday.

Meanwhile, winger Matthew Kennedy helped Scotland Under-19s to a 2-2 draw against Belgium.

Both nations will maintain strong hopes of booking a place in the finals of the competition, to be held in Lithuania later in the summer.

Disaster looked to have struck for Noel Blake's England when goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was sent off just seven minutes in - and things turned from bad to worse when Giorgi Pantsulaia punished the dismissal by converting the subsequent free-kick.

However, the Young Lions bounced back and earned a precious point through Crewe forward Max Clayton just before half-time.

For Scotland, it was the opposite story as they raced into a two-goal lead thanks to efforts from Mark Beck and Lewis MacLeod - the former benefitting from excellent wing-play by Everton youngster Kennedy.

And while the 2012 arrival from Kilmarnock came close to conjuring up a third on a couple of occasions, Belgium hit back with two goals early in the second half.

Kennedy was later withdrawn with just one minute left to play.

England's next game is against Belgium on Sunday, while the Scots face Georgia on the same afternoon.

The two nations then meet in what could prove a vital decider on Wednesday 29 May.  

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