NATHAN Redmond fired England Under-21s a step closer to the semi-finals of the European Under-21 Championships with the winning goal against Slovakia tonight.

Saints team-mate and Young Lions captain James Ward-Prowse assisted Redmond for the crucial goal on 61 minutes, which sealed a 2-1 comeback victory and put Aidy Boothroyd’s side in command of qualification from Group A with one game left.

Ward-Prowse hit a long ball to Redmond, who cut in from the left and hit home with his right foot - his effort deflecting past goalkeeper Adrian Chovan on the way through.

Fellow St Mary’s men Jack Stephens and Matt Targett watched from the bench as England teetered on the verge of another disastrous exit from the tournament - after dropping out at the group stage two years ago in the Czech Republic, as Slovakia took the lead through Martin Chrien on 22 minutes.

But, knowing anything but a win would put their campaign in serious jeopardy, England roared back soon into the second-half, as Swansea centre-back Alfie Mawson levelled on 50 minutes before Redmond’s goal 11 minutes later to make it 2-1.

After a 0-0 draw against holders Sweden in their opening game, the under-21s were two points behind Slovakia going in to this one.

But the triumph at the Kolporter Arena in Kielce now puts the national team in control of their destiny ahead of their final group game against hosts Poland on Thursday.

The Saints quartet at the tournament are aiming to help England to their first Euros win in 33 years and, in turn, emulate former Dell icon Danny Wallace, who helped Dave Sexton’s side to glory the last time they won it in 1984.

This young England team are hoping to continue a fine run for the nation’s youth sides in recent weeks, after the under-20s lifted the World Cup and a mixed age group outfit, including Saints teenage star Callum Slattery, triumphed at the Toulon Tournament.

Boothroyd had already labelled it a must-win game following Friday's 0-0 draw with Sweden but his words looked to have fallen on deaf ears after a desperate first half in Kielce.

England adopted the diamond in midfield with former Southampton Tyro League John Swift replacing Jacob Murphy and Redmond partnering Tammy Abraham in attack.

But the switch failed to inspire.

First England had to deal with Slovakia's roughhousing approach, which brought a booking for Matus Bero after a wild challenge on Nathaniel Chalobah, while Redmond, Swift and ex-Saint Calum Chambers all received similar treatment.

But there was little serious threat from England despite plenty of possession - similar to the Sweden game - with only Chalobah's long-range effort dribbling wide.

Apart from the strong-arm tactics Slovakia offered, England looked equipped to deal with their threat but were rocked when they fell behind after 23 minutes.

Albert Rusnak's corner found Chrien and, with Mason Holgate and Ben Chilwell giving him too much space, the Viktoria Plzen midfielder craned his neck to guide a fine header across Jordan Pickford and into the far corner.

Suddenly England were exposed with a lack of cohesion, communication and cutting edge becoming ever more glaring.

A limited Slovakia side were allowed to rest in their comfort zone with Holgate, Abraham and skipper Ward-Prowse struggling.

The Young Lions played into Slovakia's hands with their pedestrian build-up never testing a side who had not competed in the Euros since 2000 - when they hosted the tournament.

And Pickford scrambled to turn Jaroslav Mihalik's drive away just before the break with England floundering and needing a huge second half to save themselves.

Thankfully for Boothroyd they found it inside 11 minutes to turn the game around.

Murphy replaced Holgate at the break and made an instant impact as he teed up Mawson for the equaliser just five minutes into the second half.

The Norwich winger, playing in an unfamiliar right-back role, crossed for the Swansea defender who tapped in from close range after his initial effort was saved.

It was a response England desperately needed and their drastic improvement continued after 61 minutes when Redmond won it.

Excellent hold-up play from Abraham allowed Ward-Prowse to spread the play and find Redmond with Slovakia stretched.

The Saints winger then cut inside Martin Valjent and his angled drive arrowed across Chovan into the corner.