International friendlies - Lampard earns England draw with Ireland

International friendly, Wembley Stadium - England 1 (Lampard 23) Republic of Ireland 1 (Long 13)

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England's Frank Lampard celebrates (Reuters)

Ashley Cole made his 102nd appearance for England, but it was the centurion's Chelsea companion Frank Lampard who netted in a 1-1 friendly draw with Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium.

In a match that was an otherwise fairly drab affair on a dull night in London, Ireland struck the opening goal on 13 minutes when Shane Long rose highest to nod Seamus Coleman's cross into the corner of the net as home goalkeeper Joe Hart failed to claw out the header.

England equalised 10 minutes later when Lampard scored a sixth goal in six international matches as he lifted the ball over Ireland goalkeeper David Forde after Sean St Ledger failed to wallop clear Daniel Sturridge's cross.

Cole - who led England out as captain for the night after being presented with a golden cap by manager Roy Hodgson to commemorate his achievement - was applauded off the park by the England fans in the ground after being replaced by Leighton Baines on 52 minutes amid the usual rash of changes in these fixtures, but did not miss much afterwards in a match that had a certain end of season feel emanating from it.

England face Brazil in another friendly in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday as part of the Football Association's 150th year celebrations while Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland host Georgia in a friendly before their World Cup qualifier with the Faroe Islands a week on Friday.

Liverpool forward Sturridge will not be travelling to Brazil for that friendly after falling awkwardly on his ankle in the first period and being replaced by Jermain Defoe on 33 minutes.

England manager Hodgson appealed for calm among the England fans before this match to mark what was the first meeting of the countries since a friendly match was abandoned back in 1995 at the old Lansdowne Road in Dublin due to crowd trouble.

But he needn't have worried apart from a flare being launched onto the pitch in the first period. There were few fireworks elsewhere from either side.

Aiden McGeady threw in a corner on 41 minutes that Robbie Keane almost connected with after Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka had failed to clear a loose ball.

Keane went to ground under pressure from Wayne Rooney, but the referee rightly waved play on.

Theo Walcott tried to set up Cole for a rare international goal early in the second half, but Coleman did just enough to race back in making the intervention after some bright play by Rooney to create space.

Defoe then played provider for Walcott with a cute pass. Walcott slammed the shot at goal, but goalkeeper Forde reacted quickly to make the stop.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had the chance to win it for the home side on 82 minutes, but Forde halted that effort before keeping out Walcott with another fine stop as the visiting side held on for a merited draw.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Seamus Coleman (Republic of Ireland) - An excellent performance from Coleman. Never stopped running, and was particularly effective in covering work.

PLAYER RATINGS

England: Hart 6, Johnson 5, Jagielka 6, Cahill 6, Cole 6, Carrick 6, Lampard 7, Walcott 7, Rooney 7, Oxlade-Chamberlain 6, Sturridge 6. Subs: Baines 6, Foster 6, Jones 6, Milner 6, Defoe 6.

Republic of Ireland: Forde 7, Coleman 7, O’Shea 7, St Ledger 7, Kelly 6, Walters 7, McCarthy 7, Whelan 6, McGeady 7, Keane 6, Long 7. Subs: Hendrick 6, McClean 6, Cox 6, Sammon 7.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND RATINGS

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