Andros Townsend scored on his debut as England beat Montenegro 4-1 at Wembley to move a step closer to qualifying for the FIFA World Cup.
Wayne Rooney opened the scoring with his sixth goal in Group H on his return to the side and an own goal from Branko Boskovic doubled England's lead.
But it was Townsend who stole the show as the Tottenham winger added a third goal after Dejan Damjanovic had pulled a goal back before Daniel Sturridge scored a late penalty to leave England needing a win against Poland on Tuesday to secure their place at the showpiece in Brazil next year.
Defeat for Montenegro looks certain to have cost them a place at the World Cup, as second-placed Ukraine are three points better off than them with a far superior goal difference.
As well as handing a debut to Townsend, England boss Roy Hodgson opted to pair Liverpool striker Sturridge with Rooney in attack.
Montenegro were without captain Mirko Vucinic, defenders Miodrag Dzudovic and Marko Basa as well as midfielder Milorad Pekovic, but Manchester City striker Stevan Jovetic was named as captain.
With the backing of a vociferous home crowd at Wembley, England started brightly and created several half-chances before Leighton Baines did well to win the ball back and pick out Welbeck from the byline, but the forward fired straight at goalkeeper Vukasin Poleksic at the near post.
Townsend was causing all sorts of problems and he raced away down the right and cut in to shoot straight at Poleksic, who palmed the ball invitingly into Rooney’s path, but the striker could only fire into the side-netting from a tight angle.
But Rooney made amends for that miss just two minutes into the second half when he put England in front.
Townsend was the architect, driving down the right before providing a cross that a defender headed into Welbeck’s path and although the onrushing forward’s shot was saved by Poleksic, Rooney was on hand to tuck the ball home from six yards.
England then doubled their lead in bizarre fashion after 61 minutes, when Welbeck raced into the box and fired the ball across the box and Boskovic toed the ball into the far corner of his own net.
Jovetic was unfortunate not to pull a goal back almost immediately when his vicious right-foot drive from 25 yards out rattled the crossbar.
But the visitors did make a game of it with 18 minutes remaining when Damjanovic diverted Fatos Beciraj’s shot into the far corner.
England were not to be denied though, and Townsend added a third with a fine right-foot drive from 20 yards with 12 minutes remaining, before Sturridge put the icing on the cake with a penalty in stoppage time after he was upended close to the byline by Ivan Kecojevic.
|Coach: R. Hodgson|
for F. Lampard 65'
for A. Townsend 80'
for S. Gerrard 87'
|Allardyce upbeat despite defeat|
|Van Dijk happy at Celtic - Deila|
|Table-topping Chelsea delight Mourinho|
|Chelsea 2 West Ham 0: Mourinho´s men ease to victory|
|Suarez enjoying Messi, Neymar link-up|
|A-League Review: Garcia rescues point for Perth, Adelaide up to second|
|Poyet calls for mid-season break|
|Van Gaal rules out Januzaj move|
|Rodgers: Balotelli may have to get used to bench|
|Lallana: I was trying too hard|
|Pardew braced for Old Trafford test|
|Adriano announces Le Havre deal|
|Song to face ´brother from another mother´ Fabregas|
|Walker juggles music, football careers in Sweden|
|Lescott unfazed by City reunion|
|Tskhadadze appointed Georgia coach|
|United to finish top three - Ferdinand|
|Allardyce: Stamford Bridge stalemate saved my job|
|Southampton need three January signings, says Watson|
|Liverpool can make Champions League, says fanzine editor|
|Walsh: Hull clash crucial for Leicester|
|Toure, Aubameyang and Enyeama make shortlist for African gong|
|Docherty backs Chelsea to win two-horse race|
|Liverpool could benefit from Hyypia influence - Scales|
|Saudi Arabia name Asian Cup squad|
|Forty-year-old Cahill no problem for Postecoglou|
|Wenger criticism baffles Redknapp|
|Leicester must strengthen in window - Walsh|
|United not title contenders - Docherty|
|Koeman: Southampton youngsters will get a chance|
|Dyche empathises with Liverpool striker crisis|
|Cagliari turn to Zola|
|Rooney thanks Van Gaal for Christmas break|
|Cruzeiro offer Paulinho Tottenham exit chance|
|Carlisle´s wife grateful to Burnley|
|Katebe called up to Zambia AFCON squad|
|Cape Verde name AFCON squad|
|Finke names much-changed Cameroon squad|
|Grant omits World Cup troublemakers for AFCON|
|Blackpool striker Ranger goes AWOL|
|Allardyce relishing Mourinho meeting|
|Ashley fails to increase Rangers stake|
|Crystal Palace v Southampton: Koeman calls for focus|
|Warnock targeting striker in January|
|Chelsea v West Ham: Adrian vows visitors will attack|
|Heskey signs short-term deal at Bolton|
|Everton v Stoke City: Martinez eyes strong form|
|Juninho defends David Luiz|
|Burnley v Liverpool: Dyche defends Rodgers ahead of Turf Moor test|
|Arsenal v QPR: Wenger eyes festive momentum|
|Liverpool are growing in confidence, says Rodgers|
|Redknapp: Austin future could depend on survival|
|Martinez wants Everton consistency|
|Barca want Neymar until 2020, says agent|
|Jones undeterred by pressure of Liverpool starting role|
|Allardyce ´knows how to beat managers´ - Carroll|
|Jones playing for a new contract|
|China select Evergrande spine for Asian Cup|
|A-League Preview: Koren tips City to build|
|Khedira keen to fight for Real spot|