England under-19s 4, Slovakia under-19s 1

It has not been a great time to be a Newcastle striker.

Michael Owen, Mark Viduka and Obafemi Martins have all seen their stock plummet at the same rate as their once proud team.

So step forward Nile Ranger to buck the trend as Valley Parade hosted its first England international for seven years.

The dreadlocked Newcastle rookie netted on his England under-19s debut in their opening group win over Bosnia on Wednesday.

And he followed up with another two goals at City to push the young Lions within touching distance of July’s European Championship finals in the Ukraine.

Ranger gave the boisterous and youthful crowd of 3,833 – nearly four times more than at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium 48 hours earlier – something to cheer after 27 minutes.

Victor Moses broke into the Slovakian box and, when the ball came loose, Ranger swivelled neatly to fire home from 12 yards out.

The frontman had already seen a header kicked off the line by Tomas Kosut after keeper Matej Rondos had thought twice about challenging him for Danny Drinkwater’s cross.

Moses always looked the best bet to part the sea of blue shirts, with the powerful Crystal Palace youngster showing good skills and control on England’s left. It was no surprise that he should provide the groundwork in Ranger’s opener.

The goal brought Slovakia out of their shell and England keeper Jason Steele beat away a Filip Kiss effort at his near post.

But England were soon back on the offensive as Manchester United’s Drinkwater tested Rondos with a clever free-kick.

Six minutes into the second half, the Moses and Ranger partnership were at it again, the big targetman left criminally unmarked to power home a corner.

Ironically it was another player connected with a relegated Premier League club who quickly responded for Slovakia.

Peter Gal-Andrezly, who spent the second half of the season on loan with Middlesbrough, converted from close range after Kosut’s volley was charged down in the box.

Ranger was eyeing a hat-trick, drilling wide from 20 yards and sending another header straight into the relieved arms of Rondos.

But it was Aston Villa’s Nathan Delfouneso who made sure of the England win with two goals in the final three minutes.

The first came from another Moses corner, Delfouneso nodding in at the near post to add to the UEFA Cup goals he had scored for his club during his first senior campaign.

And there was still time for Delfouneso to tap home number four after Leeds product Danny Rose put it on a plate.

It rounded off a good night’s entertainment for all. Now, what’s the chances of Ranger returning on loan next season?

England: Steele, Trippier, Mattock, James, Hoyte, Kelly, Moses, Drinkwater (Parrett 87), Delfouneso, Ranger, Rose. Subs (not used): Tutte, Spence, Waghorn, Townsend, Briggs, Rudd.

Slovakia: Rondos, Conka (Jankovic 75), Kopca, Hovancik, Bohacek, Gal-Andrezly, Valenta (Guldan 62), Kosut, Simonek, Kiss, Bakala. Subs (not used): Polacek, Vlasko, Paldan.