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England 4 (Yankey 1, White 4, Houghton 56, R.Williams 87)
att: 3,878; at The County Ground, Swindon
England gave their UEFA Women's Championship qualifying campaign momentum with a comfortable 4-0 victory against Slovenia at Swindon.
After scoring twice in the opening four minutes, England could only add two more in the rest of a game which they dominated from start to finish but were often denied by a disappointing final ball or Slovenia goalkeeper Lucija Mori who made a string of saves.
Hope Powell made a number of changes to the side which so disappointingly drew 2-2 with Serbia five days earlier with Karen Bardsley, Alex Scott, Steph Houghton, Jess Clarke and Fara Williams returning to the starting line up. The Slovenia side included midfielder Snezana Malesevic of Millwall Lionesses.
England could not have wished for a better start as they took the lead after just 53 seconds of play. A quickly taken corner by Fara Williams found Rachel Yankey whose low drilled shot went under the diving Mori and in off the far post.
It could have been two just a minute later, Alex Scott's long pass picking out an unmarked Karen Carney in the area where she took one touch before her shot was saved by Mori. However the second goal was not long in coming, Carney finding space down the right and her cross picked out an unmarked Ellen White who had the simple task of heading into the corner of the net.
Jess Clarke made a good run into the area and her cut back was parried as far as Steph Houghton whose shot was charged down by Ines Spelic. Clarke was again involved as she headed a Mori goal kick into the path of White was firm shot was just past the far post.
Slovenia had been all over the place at the back but then produced their best moment so far as captain Mateja Zver, their most impressive outfield performer on the night, chipped a good ball over the England defence and into the path of Malesevic whose shot was saved by Karen Bardsley.
The game went into a lull as a number of promising England moves broke down but they almost extended their lead on 33 minutes as White's shot was blocked on the line by Lucija Grad following a good move. Alex Scott then had a great chance when she was put through by Yankey but she underhit her left foot shot and Mori was able to get down and save.
England were on the attack early in the second half with Rachel Unitt heading a Carney corner just wide. Williams tried her luck with a 25-yard free kick which Mori did well to gather low down at the first attempt and Yankey drilled a shot wide at the near post as England visibly looked determined to shut out memories of their previous match.
The third goal eventually came on 56 minutes with Carney spreading the ball out wide to Yankey who tricked her way past Gard and sent in a pinpoint cross which was headed firmly home by Houghton.
Carney and Williams exchanged passes on the edge of the area and, although White could not force home Carney's low cross, the ball ran to Yankey whose shot was headed off the line by Grad. Williams flicked a low Yankey free kick goalwards but Mori again got down well to save.
Slovenia should have done better with a very presentable chance but Anja Milenkovic pulled her shot wide from just inside the area. Back came England and Rachel Williams got in an attempt within a minute of coming on, a difficult looping header which was held by Mori.
England finally got the fourth goal in the dying minutes as a cross from the left by Unitt just evaded Rachel Williams in the centre. The Slovenians left the ball to run out of play but Clarke remained alert and reached the ball in the time, pulling it back to give Rachel Williams a simple tap in for her first international goal to complete the scoring on the night.
England: Karen Bardsley, Alex Scott, Rachel Unitt, Steph Houghton, Sophie Bradley (sub Fern Whelan 75mins), Casey Stoney, Jess Clarke (sub Dani Buet 89mins), Fara Williams, Ellen White, Karen Carney, Rachel Yankey (sub Rachel Williams 81mins). Subs not used: Siobhan Chamberlain, Laura Bassett, Jill Scott, Dunia Susi.
Slovenia: Lucija Mori, Lucija Grad, Ines Spelic, Manja Benak, Tjasa Tibaut, Anja Milenkovic, Snezana Malesevic, Mateja Zver, Urska Zganec (sub Stasa Spur 73mins), Tanja Vrabel (sub Anja Levacic 79mins), Natalija Golob (sub Fata Salkunic 56mins). Subs not used: Sonja Cevnik, Kaja Jerina, Katja Nezmah, Dragica Stipic.
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