Albion striker Saido Berahino was thrilled to mark a fine debut for England Under-21s with the only goal against Moldova.
Berahino’s 13th-minute strike was the only goal on a night where the Three Lions threatened throughout at Reading’s Madejski Stadium.
“I thank God I got one goal and we won the game,” said Berahino. “I started well.
“It’s amazing - I couldn’t dream of it going that way. I’m pinching myself.
“They were brilliant defensively and cleared a few off the line.
“At least we were creating chances, which is a positive sign.”
New England Under-21 manager Gareth Southgate was frustrated not to win his first match by a greater margin.
A day after FA chairman Greg Dyke bemoaned the state of the national game, the Young Lions opened up their European Championship qualifying campaign with a win far morecomprehensive than the 1-0 scoreline suggests.
England peppered the Moldova goal from the outset and, despite Berahino being the only scorer, the performance pleased the former Villa skipper.
“When we watch the game back there will be so many good things from it,” said Southgate.
“We controlled possession well, even when the goal didn’t come we didn’t panic.”