TOWN teenager Tom Clarke went close to scoring as he gained a second England Under 19 cap last night.
The 18-year-old centre-back had scored on his U19 debut in a 3-2 win over Belgium at Darlington in September.
And he was rewarded with a second cap by head coach Martin Hunter in front of a sell-out clash for the friendly against Slovakia at Northampton's Sixfields Stadium last night.
During the early exchanges England tested the Slovakian goalkeeper Lukas Hrosso to the limit and Clarke, who has also played for the Under 18s, went close from a free-kick by Chelsea's Jimmy Smith, glancing a superb header towards the back post that seemed goalbound.
And Clarke was again denied an opening goal after the keeper responded magnificently to claw the ball away from the net.
Derby's Lee Holmes put Hunter's side ahead just before the break before Moses Ashikodi made it 2-0 on 65 minutes.
Arsenal's talented 16-year-old Theo Walcott kicked started his Under 19 career with a goal, converting a penalty at the second attempt on 80 minutes, after the referee had spotted encroachment by Slovakian players, to cap a fine overall performance.
Hunter said: "We have been able to get a good look at 17 players and I am pleased with what I have seen from every one of them."
Clarke will be hoping to secure a place in Hunter's squad for the European Championship qualifiers which start in May.
England have been drawn alongside Belgium, Serbia & Montenegro and Northern Ireland, with games taking place in Belgium from May 18-22. The championships proper are in Poland in July.
Last year the Under 19s were beaten by France in the final.
Clarke's 19-year-old Town teammate James Hand got a brief run-out for the Republic of Ireland, coming on as substitute in the 90th minute, as the Republic beat Sweden 1-0 at United Park, Drogheda.