England held 1-1 by Ireland in peaceful match
LONDON (AP) -- Frank Lampard earned a 1-1 draw for England against Ireland in a scrappy but peaceful friendly on Wednesday, the rivals' first encounter since hooliganism forced the abandonment of a game between them 18 years ago.
England fans, who rioted during the 1995 game in Dublin, heeded the warning of England manager Roy Hodgson by largely refraining from anti-Irish chanting at Wembley Stadium.
"It was a great atmosphere,'' England defender Ashley Cole said. "Their fans were very good.''
The potential for provocation was avoided during the national anthems as the music was turned up to full volume, leaving some speakers crackling.
The game was just as uneventful.
Shane Long headed Ireland in front after 13 minutes and Lampard leveled 10 minutes later with his 29th England goal.
In the second half, Ireland goalkeeper David Forde denied Theo Walcott twice and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
While England heads to Brazil for a friendly against the 2014 World Cup hosts on Sunday, Ireland prepares for a qualifier against the Faro Islands on June 7.
This was the third consecutive 1-1 draw between England and Ireland stretching back to the 1990 World Cup.
More significant was the chance to show that tensions between the countries has thawed since the previous game lasted just 28 minutes before being called off.
After all the pre-match fears, the only scattered boos were heard when Ashley Cole - who is not universally popular among England fans - received a commemorative cap for having reached the 100 mark for his country.
On his 102nd appearance, Cole captained England for the first time.
"I think we should have won,'' Cole said. "They were a tough side but I think we should have won.''
It didn't start well as Cole's fellow defenders were beaten too easily for the opener as Seamus Coleman floated a cross into the penalty area.
Long darted through and rose above Glen Johnson before sending the header past goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Ireland's defending was slacker to allow England to equalize.
Daniel Sturridge worked his way down the left flank and, as he whipped in a cross, Lampard started to ghost into the penalty area.
As the ball came off Sean St. Leger and Glenn Whelan, Lampard exploited the confusion to stab the ball home from close range.
There was a blow for England when Sturridge was carried off injured, with Jermain Defoe taking his place.
But the attack lacked spark, with Wayne Rooney, who has missed recent games for Manchester United, never coming close to score in his first match in nearly a month.
England's sloppy play reflected the struggle to qualify for the World Cup. England is second in its group, two points behind Montenegro with five games remaining.
England struggled to find a way past Forde in the second half.
A low shot from Walcott was turned wide by Forde, who also denied Oxlade-Chamberlain when the ball was swept straight at him.
The late block thwarted Walcott from close range on a frustrating night for England.