A timid second-half display proved England's undoing as Montenegro came from behind to earn a deserved draw in Podgorica.
Having already struck a post with a classy chip, Wayne Rooney headed England ahead on six minutes from Steven Gerrard's inswinging corner.
England's performance was similar to the opening 45 minutes they played out in Podgorica 17 months ago. Comfortable in possession and unflustered by a supposedly hostile Montenegrin crowd, they were guilty of failing to probe their hosts, whose goalkeeper was largely untroubled. Danny Welbeck was undeservedly booked for simulation when he appeared to have been upended by Stefan Savić in the penalty area in an otherwise serene half.
Damjanović's equalises for Montenegro
Following the pause, the roles were reversed. Montenegro did the attacking and England did the defending with Mirko Vučinic and Stevan Jovetić belatedly inducing anxiety, with the latter heading narrowly wide and skipper Vučinic squandering two excellent chances.
The pressure increased along with the volume and Montenegro deservedly equalised in the 77th minute. Lacking a commander at set-pieces, Joe Hart pushed one header wide, only Dejan Damjanović struck from the resultant corner after Hart and Chris Smalling foiled two previous efforts in as many seconds.
England opted for a more adventurous approach after the setback, but only Gerrard stung Božović's palms again.