England top table after strolling to easy victory over Moldova

Danny Welbeck scores twice but will miss Ukraine game after collecting yellow card

Daniel Welbeck of England scores their third goal during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifyer at Wembley. Photograph: Getty

Daniel Welbeck of England scores their third goal during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifyer at Wembley. Photograph: Getty


ENGLAND 4 (Gerrard 12, Lambert 26, Welbeck 45, 50) MOLDOVA 0

It ended up being a bittersweet night for England, full of goals to send the crowd home happy, buoyed by the news that Montenegro and Poland had drawn elsewhere in Group H, but also a measure of regret about the fact Danny Welbeck has been added to the list of absentees for the assignment against Ukraine and that Roy Hodgson is probably down to two strikers, both of whom would ordinarily be bench-warmers.

Hodgson’s irritation about the booking that means Welbeck is suspended from Tuesday’s game in Kiev was there for everyone to see and justifiable, too, when it was such a soft decision.

He can be encouraged by the latest evidence that Rickie Lambert has quickly acclimatised to international football, with another goal but Welbeck will be a loss, considering he scored twice

The result in Poland means England top Group H. Now Hodgson just has to work out a new, makeshift forward line for Tuesday. Ukraine warmed up for that game by doling out the obligatory thrashing to San Marino, knocking in four goals by half-time and another five in the second half.

Englandwill have enjoyed a relatively pressure-free night, bar the furore surrounding Welbeck’s booking, once Gerrard put them on their way with a lovely, drilled finish after 12 minutes. Lambert should also go to Kiev in confident mood after taking advantage of a goalkeeping error to head into the exposed net.

On the stroke of half-time Lambert curled a long diagonal pass, right to left, into the penalty area. Welbeck, sprinting through the middle, had eluded the Moldovan defence, his first touch took the ball past Namasco leaving him with a simple finish. The subdued celebration told its own story and when the half-time whistle went shortly afterwards Gary Neville was waiting for referee Kruzliak to prolong the argument.

Welbeck did well to remain focused when the sense of injustice was so pronounced. Five minutes into the second half, Lambert slipped him in to clip a delicate shot over Namasco for 4-0. Lambert, having set up two goals, then played in Leighton Baines, a half-time substitute for Cole, who let fly. but this time the goalkeeper saved well.

It was just a surprise England could not butter up their goal difference some more. Guardian Service