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England 2 (Exley 39, Scott 90)
att: 8,817; at the St Mary's Stadium, Southampton
England stay top of Group Five in the World Cup qualifiers as a goal in each half gave them victory over a dogged Hungarian side at Southampton.
Hope Powell made a number of changes to the side which beat Austria 4-0 last month with Vicky Exley replacing the suspended Fara Williams and Anita Asante, Jo Potter, Jody Handley and Sue Smith coming in for Katie Chapman, Kelly Smith, Amanda Barr and Rachel Yankey.
England had appeals for a penalty turned down in the opening minutes as Handley tumbled in the area but the first effort on goal came shortly afterwards as Vicky Exley tested Melinda Szvorda with a 30-yard free kick which the goalkeeper tipped over the bar. Sue Smith fired over after a good weaving run into the area and Exley was just off target with a shot on the turn on the edge of the area.
England came even closer to the opening goal in the 27th minute as Smith cut in from the right and picked out Asante at the far post, the midfielder's first time shot being touched onto the post by Szvorda.
However for all England's attacking, they could have gone a goal behind ten minutes later as a free kick taken by Anita Padar rebounded into the path of Anett Nagy whose shot was well saved at full stretch by Rachel Brown.
England went straight back on the attack and Karen Carney was fouled on the edge of the area. From the resulting free kick, Exley stepped up to drill a right foot shot low into the corner of the net for the opening goal.
Moments later, a curling cross by Potter was not dealt with by Szvorda, under pressure from Rachel Unitt, and the ball bounced awkwardly before hitting the post. Faye White then missed a good chance to double England's lead when she sent a free header wide from Carney's corner.
England's tails were up and Exley was next to test Szvorda with a header from Lindsay Johnson's cross, but the one goal margin remained as the teams went into half time.
Within a minute of the restart, Unitt had two opportunities to England further ahead but she could not head home on either occasion. Carney drove in a low shot which was fumbled by Szvorda who did well to block Handley's shot from the rebound.
A sharp Hungarian counter attack nearly caught England out as Nagy's reverse pass released Agnes Czuder whose drive was tipped round the post by Brown. England struck back following some good, determined play by Mary Phillip to win the ball and Lianne Sanderson, on for her England debut rose highest from Smith's cross but her header was saved.
Sanderson went even closer a minute later as she cut in from the left and her 20-yard strike hit the underside of the bar and Alex Scott was unable to force home the rebound.
Potter was inches off target from the edge of the area after a good lay off from Smith and White headed over from a corner as England still pressed for the second goal. Potter again had a shot deflected just wide and, from the resulting corner, Casey Stoney tried to bundle the ball home but her effort hit the post and went wide.
The second goal came a minute into injury time. Sanderson's clever flick released Smith down the left and her pinpoint cross was headed firmly home at the far post by Scott.
The result means that England have gone through a whole season unbeaten for the first time in 12 years. All eyes will be on the crucial match between Holland and France on Saturday evening, where a draw would mean that England would qualify for the World Cup by beating the Dutch in their next match.
England: Rachel Brown, Lindsay Johnson, Rachel Unitt, Anita Asante, Faye White, Mary Phillip, Karen Carney, Jo Potter, Jody Handley, Vicky Exley, Sue Smith. Subs: Lianne Sanderson (for Handley 53 mins), Alex Scott (for Carney 56 mins), Casey Stoney (for Johnson 68 mins), Siobhan Chamberlain, Laura Bassett, Rachel Yankey, Amanda Barr.
Hungary: Melinda Szvorda, Gyorgyl Sebestyen, Eva Sumegl, Krisztina Kanta, Angela Smuczer, Anita Padar, Cecilia Gaspar, Aranka Paraoanu, Anett Nagy, Timea Gal, Agnes Czuder. Subs: Anita Szeker (for Sebestyen 49 mins), Rita Mery (for Padar 75 mins), Judit Fenyvesi (for Czuder 86 mins), Gabriella Kovesi, Gabriella Toth, Nikolett Szoradi, Erzsebet Pucsek.
Photo - Player of the Match Sue Smith sprints away from Anita Padar (James Prickett).
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