Football: Frank Lampard scored twice as England eased to victory against Moldova in their World Cup 2014 qualifier in Chisinau.
Jermain Defoe added a third before half-time as Roy Hodgson's side swept past a home side who showed plenty of effort but were short on quality.
With England home and hosed by half-time, Hodgson was able to make changes with Tuesday's match against Ukraine in mind and his side were comfortable throughout the second period and built on their lead with further clinical strikes.
James Milner added a fourth from the edge of the area on 74 minutes after some slick passing between Theo Walcott, Tom Cleverly and Danny Welbeck. A deflected free kick from Leighton Baines made it five on 83 minutes.
Lampard got England off to a flyer on four minutes, the Chelsea man drilling home his eighth penalty for his country after defender Simion Bulgaru was harshly adjudged to have blocked a Cleverly shot with his hand.
The ball did indeed strike a palm, but the distance between Cleverly and Bulgaru was minimal and the Moldovan appeared to be doing his best to keep his arms tucked in. Lampard, nonetheless, finished with aplomb.
England settled immediately and they should have doubled their lead inside 10 minutes when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain dashed down the left flank before crossing to Defoe, who could only sidefoot wide from close range.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was soon testing Moldovan keeper Stanislav Namsco with a half volley and England doubled their advantage on 29 minutes when Liverpool full-back Glen Johnson picked out Lampard with a pinpoint cross.
The Chelsea man had time to check the advancing keeper's position before glancing a header into the back of the net.
Three minutes later, it was well and truly game over. Oxlade-Chamberlain ran at the Moldovan defence in typically swashbuckling style before slipping in Tottenham striker Defoe.
The diminutive star's effort was powerful, but should never have beaten Namsco at his near post. His hand was weak though and the ball squirmed in.
Steven Gerrard made way for Michael Carrick at the break and Oxlade-Chamberlain was likewise replaced by Arsenal team-mate Theo Walcott.
Thereafter following a period of sloppy play from England, with Carrick most guilty of losing the ball in a dangerous area. Moldova though lacked the quality to punish the visitors.
Defoe was next to be replaced, with Welbeck, hoping to build on his impressive performances at Euro 2012, coming on.
The Manchester United striker was involved as some intricate passing inside the Moldovan area ended with Milner thrashing a low effort into the bottom left-hand corner for his first goal in an England shirt.
Baines, standing in for Ashley Cole, added to the rout when his free kick took a wicked deflection off the shoulder of defender Alexandru Gatcan, leaving Namsco with no chance.
John Terry appeared to be limping towards the end and will certainly be a doubt for the match against Ukraine at Wembley, but England will look to that match with confidence even without the Chelsea defender.
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.