F.Y.R. Macedonia put in a heroic performance to earn a 2-2 draw away against England at St Mary's stadium after twice taking the lead in a EURO 2004™ Group 7 qualifier.
On a famous night for Macedonian football, Nikola Ilievski's side rode their luck, defended in depth and took advantage of two disastrous errors in the England defence to silence the crowd in Southampton.
With the home side stamping their authority on the game from the kick-off, the visitors hit England with a sucker punch after just eleven minutes. The excellent Artim Sakiri took a corner on the right and stunned England goalkeeper David Seaman with a cross which flew over his head and straight inside his far post without receiving a touch on the way.
It was something of a freak goal, and England seemed to take it in their stride as they equalised just three minutes later. Paul Scholes played his Manchester United FC team-mate David Beckham in down the right and the England captain beat Petar Milosevski with a superb angled chip from the edge of the penalty area.
The home side found themselves a goal behind again on 25 minutes. Arsenal FC defender Sol Campbell made a weak clearance from a Sakiri shot, allowing the ball to fall for Vanco Trajanov who beat Seaman with an excellent drive from 20 metres.
England were stung into action again, and should have equalised after 31 minutes when Beckham's cross from the by-line for Owen was acrobatically punched clear by Milosevski. The ball fell for Scholes inside the penalty area, but under pressure from a defender he drove the ball over.
Five minutes later, parity was restored as the tireless Beckham forced Robert Popov to make a headed clearance which Steven Gerrard gathered on his chest before volleying an unstoppable shot into Milosevski's net from 20 metres.
England still had every reason to believe that their chances would tell in the second period. How wrong they were. As the match progressed, Macedonia weathered immense pressure and watched as England wasted a number of fine chances.
Milosevski made an improbable save a minute from time as substitute Darius Vassell played a ball in from the right for Alan Smith, diving to smother the Leeds United AFC striker's effort from close range. When Smith was then dismissed in added time for a second bookable offence, it was already clear that the heroes of the night would be Macedonian.