Adam Lallana ensured Sam Allardyce's reign as England manager got off to a dramatic winning start with a strike deep into injury time against Slovakia.
Fans were sure the match was to meet an end as underwhelming as the last time the nations met in June, as they watched a goalless 90 minutes unfold.
Even Allardyce looked just about ready to settle for a deeply uninspiring stalemate until Lallana picked a perfect moment to break his international duck and seal a 1-0 success.
The Liverpool forward had already clattered the post when the ball broke for him inside the area, with seconds of the four added minutes left.
England's first chance of note took 22 minutes to arrive, Kane failing to get a proper connection on Walker's low near-post cross, in what was his only real sight of goal.
Their only other serious effort before the break came when Sterling took advantage of a ponderous clearance and dragged wide from 10 yards.
England were on the charge for the final 20 minutes and Lallana almost broke the deadlock with an opportunistic drive that beat the goalkeeper but rebounded off the inside of the near post.
But, having not netted in his first 26 England appearances, Lallana later found a finish and for Allardyce, celebrating passionately on the touchline, the timing was perfect.