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Casey salvages a draw
 Women's Football News 8 Mar 2009
 
Casey salvages a draw - 8 Mar 2009 - Women's Football NewsEngland twice came from behind to draw an entertaining encounter 2-2 with old rivals France in the second of their three Cyprus Cup group games.
 
Left back Casey Stoney and winger Karen Carney hit the equalisers to goals by Corine Franco and Elodie Thomas in a game which England controlled for long periods but might have lost at the death in a frantic period of stoppage time.
 
Hope Powell made three changes to the side which started Thursday's 6-0 win against South Africa in the opening Group A fixture. Rachel Brown replaced Siobhan Chamberlain in goal, Lindsay Johnson took over from right back Alex Scott and Emily Westwood was drafted into midfield with Kelly Smith pushed forward to take over from Lianne Sanderson up front.
 
The change in the striking line almost paid immediate dividends, Kelly Smith sending a 15-yard shot narrowly wide after just two minutes. Midfielder Fara Williams went close from a 25-yard free kick five minutes later as England maintained their early pressure.
 
It was France who took the lead, however, midfielder Corine Franco drilling home the rebound after left winger Elise Bussaglia's 15th minute long range drive had bounced off the top of the far post.
 
England almost went further behind in the 23rd minute when right winger Elodie Thomis lobbed Brown only to see the ball strike the bar.
 
After that narrow escape England regained their composure and equalised through Carney in the 26th minute, the right winger sidefooting the ball in from eight yards following an excellent run and slide-rule pass by Kelly Smith.
 
A second goal might have arrived seven minutes before half time but, after ghosting in behind the French defence, Sue Smith directed a volley straight into the arms of goalkeeper Celine Deville.
 
England made a quickfire start to the second half and in the opening minute Williams went close with a 20-yard effort. In the 25 minutes that followed, England had most of the possession and created good moves along both flanks but they were unable to create any clear cut openings and it was left back Casey Stoney, with well struck 25-yard drives on the hour and seven minutes later, who produced the only shots at goal.
 
Against the run of play France regained the lead in the 72nd minute, Thomis racing clear of the back four to shoot past Brown from 15 yards.
 
It took England just three minutes to level the scores for a second time, however, substitute Katie Chapman heading Carney's corner back into the danger area and Stoney stabbing the ball home from six yards.
 
Two minutes later, Carney was desperately close to getting her second goal as Deville dived to her left to brilliantly keep out the winger's ten-yard shot.
 
England pushed for a winner but, in the final moments of the game, they might have been forced to concede defeat. As play went into stoppage time Brown had to save superbly from Franco's strike, then 60 seconds later substitute Gaetane Thiney lifted an angled shot over Brown but against the bar.
 
England: Rachel Brown, Lindsay Johnson (sub Alex Scott 45mins), Casey Stoney, Anita Asante, Steph Houghton, Jill Scott, Fara Williams, Karen Carney, Emily Westwood (sub Katie Chapman 68mins), Sue Smith, Kelly Smith (sub Eniola Aluko 56mins).

France: Sarah Bouhaddi, Delphine Blanc, Laura Georges (sub Gaetane Thiney 73mins), Sabrina Viguier, Ludivine Diguelman, Corine Franco, Sandrine Soubeyrand, Elodie Thomis, Louisa Necib, Elise Bussaglia (sub Eugenie Le Sommer 45mins), Candie Herbert (sub Laetitia Tonazzi 73mins).

 
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