Harry Kane
Kane's strike eight minutes into the second-half put the visitors in the lead. Getty

England scored three times in six and a half minutes to add some gloss to an otherwise dour performance away to Malta to take another important step towards qualification for the 2018 World Cup.

Gareth Southgate's side struggled to break down the home side before Harry Kane finally broke the deadlock eight minutes into the second-half having gone the whole month of August without registering a goal.

Ryan Bertrand added a second from range after 85 minutes before Danny Welbeck and a second from Kane sealed a rather flattering score line for the away side who retain a two point lead at the summit of Group F.

Prior to kick-off, Malta, ranked 190th in the world tied with Liechtenstein, had conceded an average of 2.9 goals goals per game in their 10 previous World Cup qualifiers. England did their best to improve that ratio for them in a desperately poor first-half showing.

Raheem Sterling passed up the opportunity shoot on goal inside of two minutes after being slid through by Kane, opting to shift the ball onto his right foot instead of immediately looking for the back of the net. Kane's point-blank header was saved by Malta goalkeeper Andrew Hogg with Phil Jones denied his first goal for his country when his header was disallowed just before the half hour mark after a foul from Gary Cahill on the goalkeeper.

As a painful first-half wore on, England's chances dried up with Southgate's narrow side making life needlessly difficult for themselves.

Marcus Rashford was introduced at half-time to replace Sterling whose early miss set the tone for his frustrating evening. Moments after a scare when Andre Schembri's half volley whistled just wide of Hart's far post, the breakthrough thankfully came seven minutes into the second half with Dele Alli driving into the box, looking for room to shoot before sliding the ball inside to Kane who drilled home.

Long range efforts from Kane and Rashford were all the visitors could muster as a relentlessly dull contest dragged until England came to life late on. With his first goal for his county, Bertrand added the second, letting fly from range with a wicked bounce carrying the ball out of Hogg's reach and into the far corner of the net.

Moments after failing to connect from five yards out, Welbeck, on as a second-half sub, made sure he was on the end of the next one, beating the onrushing goalkeeper to Kane's smart cross to clip over into an empty net.

Filling their boots in extra time, Rashford's excellent whipped cross from the right found Kane's clever run, lashing home to score his second of the evening.