England came from a goal down with 22 minutes remaining to win their first competitive match since the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championship final, 2-1 away to FYR Macedonia.
The home side sensed an upset when Agim Ibraimi put them in front with a wonderful long-range strike after 34 minutes, a lead they held until midway through the second half. But half-time substitute Freddie Sears drew England level and the turnaround was completed with seven minutes remaining thanks to Lee Cattermole's penalty.
Cattermole was one of four players in Stuart Pearce's selection here who started England's 4-0 final defeat by Germany a little more than two months ago – Scott Loach, Fabrice Muamba and Kieran Gibbs were the others – while James Tomkins, Michael Mancienne, Jack Rodwell and Danny Rose were all substitutes for the Malmo showpiece. But there were signs of an England hangover when Ibraimi, whose deflected free-kick had forced Loach into an earlier save, unleashed a 30-metre drive past the England goalkeeper.
Sears replaced Muamba after the interval but there were few signs of an England revival until the 68th minute when the replacement finished neatly after Tomkins and Rodwell had headed a Junior Stanislas corner into a dangerous area. Pearce's second change, Jack Wilshere for Rose, also had the desired impact as the midfielder was felled by Daniel Georgievski and Cattermole dispatched the late penalty to inflict a second successive Group 9 defeat on the hosts and get England's campaign off to a winning start.