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Lambert's dream goal brings England victory

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Rickie Lambert enjoyed the kind of dream debut for England usually reserved for the pages of comic books. The former beetroot processing plant employee has spent most of his career in the lower divisions. Given a chance to pull on a white shirt, the 31 year-old striker scored the winning goal with his first touch against Scotland at Wembley, within a couple of minutes of coming off the bench to replace Wayne Rooney.

The supposed friendly was a stern test for England. The Scots played with spirit and aggression, twice taking the lead before England's greater resources eventually prevailed. As a workout its effectiveness won't be known until manager Roy Hodgson sees how his team performs in September's vital World Cup qualifiers, but Lambert will always have Wembley and that powerful header into the back of the net as a career highlight.

He could have added two more, hitting the post from close in and scuffing a shot at the goalkeeper, but it's the goal that will be remembered. "That's what I've been dreaming about all my life," Lambert said after the game. "The delivery was superb, exactly where I wanted it to be. I caught it sweet. It was probably the best header of my career, and to see it in the back of the net was unbelievable. The kid inside me wanted to scream out loud."

The atmosphere and competitive spirit made it a friendly to savour. "This win is all the more satisfying because it was won by such a fairytale goal," Hodgson said. "He's so enthusiastic, like a young boy with a new toy ever since he joined up with us. We believe in him and, funnily enough, the first thing Gary Neville said to me was: 'He's going to get us a goal.'"

Hodgson has a few problems to work on. He is still looking for an effective centre-back partnership, while goalkeeper Joe Hart remains a source of concern. He was at fault for James Morrison's opening goal for Scotland, and looked uncertain on several occasions.

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