If Josh Onomah never scores another goal in his career, he will always have this one to treasure from the fixture that creates memories.
Onomah, the Tottenham midfielder who is on loan at Aston Villa, is not a player who does his best work deep behind enemy lines. He scuffles and he tackles and he tries to keep his team ticking with economical passing.
But in the 13th minute of this skirmish with Scotland, a loose ball dropped to Onomah 25 yards out; he could have laid it off but, sensing an opportunity, he steadied himself with chest control before flicking an exquisite dipping strike into the top corner.
Josh Onomah wheeled away in celebration after scoring a wonderful opener for England
From that remarkable juncture, England were never going to lose this Battle of Britain. They were infinitely better than a Scotland side that showed little ambition and the only question that needed answering was how big the margin of victory would be.
Given Scotland’s bewildering unwillingness to lay a glove on England, it would have been an instantly forgettable encounter but Onomah’s daring and confidence changed the mood and laid the foundations for England to take charge of Group E.
Aidy Boothroyd, the Under-21 head coach, had been braced for a difficult evening, given that Scotland had beaten The Netherlands last month in their opening qualifier, four days after England had clung on to secure a draw against the young Dutch.
Tammy Abraham doubled the lead after he was fouled in the box and took the spot kick
Abraham celebrated after dispatching the penalty past the keeper for a 2-0 lead
Tghe Young Lions surrounded Abraham after the Swansea forward got on the scoresheet
Ryan Fulton is at full stretch but is relieved to see Abraham’s effort miss wide
Gunn 6: Alexander-Arnold 7.5, Gomez 7, Fry 6, Walker-Peters 7.5: Cook 6.5, Onomah 8: Gray 6.5 (Kenny 70mins 6), Solanke 7 (Lookman 83mins), Calvert-Lewin 6: Abraham 7 Subs not used: Woodman (GK), Dowell, Davies, Tomori, Harrison
Fulton 7: Smith 6, Souttar 5, McKenna 5, Taylor 6: Campbell 5, Mallan 6, Cadden 7: Morgan 5, Burke 5 (McBurnie 46mins), Thomas 5 (Williamson 67mins) Subs not used: Ruddy (GK), Kerr, Docherty (Mallan), Miller, McCrorie
Goals – Onomah (13), Abraham (49 pen)
Attendance – 20,126
Referee – Juan Martinez Munuera (Spain)
Man-of-the-Match – Josh Onomah
His fears were misplaced. England pinned Scotland into their own half for long periods and they could easily have amassed a score similar to the 6-0 demolition when they last met at this level in August 2013.
Onomah provided the glitter but Boothroyd will be wondering how Tammy Abraham, the Chelsea striker on loan at Swansea, never headed back to camp with the match ball.
Abraham hit the woodwork following a superb cross from now Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the 18th minute and saw Scotland defender Liam Smith block another effort on the line following a cushioned header from Middlesbrough defender Dael Fry.
Bournemouth’s Lewis Cook and Liverpool striker Dominic Solanke also went close before Abraham converted a 49th minute penalty after he had been made tripped.
Perhaps things were too easy as they let Scotland back into the game in the 77th minute when Chris Cadden punished lax marking but, in the next attack, Solanke made sure of the points, finishing a move that was started, fittingly, by Onomah.
Lewis Cook evades Allan Campbell and looks to set up another England attack
Dominic Solanke fails to adjust his body to a cross as the Scotland players panic