Ollie Watkins’ 57th minute poked effort handed England a 1-0 friendly win over Australia at Wembley Stadium.
Watkins poked Jack Grealish’s 57th minute low cross into the bottom right corner to snatch a scrappy win with his third seenior goal for England, which also was his first international goal since he scored in a friendly win over Ivory Coast in March 2022.
Australia had their own chances but lacked the end product as Keanu Baccus went closest with a wide 68th minute strike.
England manager, Gareth Southgate made 10 changes from their friendly win away to Scotland last month as only Lewis Dunk kept his place, with Sam Johnstone, Conor Gallagher and Ollie Watkins amongst those who came into the starting line-up.
Australia however started the first half brightest with a high-intensity press but the first chance fell for England’s Jarrod Bowen, who slipped Gallagher through into the box to cut back only for Watkins to evade his pass and James Maddison headed a rebound cross over the bar.
England were almost punished just four minutes later as Baccus curled a shot towards the top-right corner from range albeit via Fikayo Tomori’s headed deflection, but Sam Johnstone made a crucial punch to put the ball wide.
Mitchell Duke then let two chances go begging from the resulting corner kick as Australia began to turn up their pressure, whilst Southgate’s Three Lions found themselves sluggishly spraying passes around up the pitch with little end product.
Their sloppiness was almost punished in a 28th minute corner as Martin Boyle’s rebound cross fell for Kyle Rowles, but the defender could only lash his shot over the bar from close-range.
Australia however were lucky to not fall behind barely a minute later as Watkins was played through upon a goal and rounded Matt Ryan, yet the Aston Villa forward could only rifle his tame shot onto the right post in front of an empty goal.
Neither team eventually broke the deadlock before half-time as Bowen nodded Trent Alexander-Arnold’s curled cross towards the left post, only for Ryan to save in the 43rd minute.
Australia then broke forward a minute later but Ryan Strain’s shot was blocked on the line by Dunk, from which Souttar nodded the corner over the bar.
England responded with an improved tempo at the start of the second half but had to wait until the 50th minute to have a shot upon goal, as Alexander-Arnold rifled wide on the rebound from a cleared corner kick.
The Three Lions eventually got their reward for an improved effort in the 57th minute, as a corner was cleared out to Alexander-Arnold, who curled in a deep cross to the left post towards Grealish and the Manchester City winger teed up Watkins to poke into the right corner.
Southgate subsequently made four changes which included Kieran Trippier coming on as right back with Alexander-Arnold shifted to central midfield, in place of Jordan Henderson who had endured a passive evening.
Those tweaks further sparked England into life but they suffered a huge scare in the 68th minute, as Baccus picked up Goodwin’s pass and rifled narrowly wide of the left corner from 30 yards for Australia.
End product though proved a huge issue in the closing 21 minutes as both teams struggled to create clear cut opportunities, although Connor Metcalfe headed wide from a 79th minute corner for Australia.
England ultimately clung on to keep their unbeaten run in this calendar year going, heading into their UEFA Euro 2024 qualifier against Italy.
England face Italy at Wembley Stadium, London in their UEFA Euro 2024 qualifier, on Tuesday 17 October in a 7:45pm BST kick-off.
Australia meanwhile will meet Oceania rivals, New Zealand in a friendly at Brentford’s Gtech Community Stadium.
England: Sam Johnstone, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Lewis Dunk, Levi Colwill, Fikayo Tomori (Stones 62′), Jordan Henderson (Trippier 61′), Conor Gallagher (Phillips 61′), Jarrod Bowen, James Maddison (Foden 73′), Jack Grealish (Rashford 61′), Ollie Watkins (Nketiah 73′)
Substitutes: Kieran Trippier, Jordan Pickford, Harry Maguire, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Marc Guehi, Declan Rice, Marcus Rashford, Harry Kane, Phil Foden, Aaron Ramsdale, Kalvin Phillips, Jude Bellingham, Eddie Nketiah
Australia: Matt Ryan, Ryan Strain (Miller 74′), Harry Souttar, Cameron Burgess, Kyle Rowles (Mabil 83′), Martin Boyle (Behich 83′), Keanu Baccus, Jackson Irvine, Craig Goodwin (Borrello 73′), Connor Metcalfe (Toure 90′), Mitchell Duke (Bos 73′)
Substitutes: Milos Degenek, Jordan Bos, Samuel Silvera, Brandon Borrello, Awer Mabil, Andrew Redmayne, Aiden O’Neill, Azriz Behich, Lewis Miller, Tom Glover, Massimo Luongo, Alessandro Circati
Referee – Stephanie Frappart (France)
Attendance – 81, 116