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England 2 (Clarke 40, White 51)
att: 4,112; at the Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster
England went back into second place in Group Six as goals either side of half time gave them a comfortable victory over Serbia at the Keepmoat Stadium.
After going close on numerous occasions in the first half, Hope Powell's side never looked back after Jess Clarke finished off a good move just before half time and Ellen White slotted home a second early in the second half.
Hope Powell opted for an unchanged side from that which had drawn with Holland in their previous international with Kelly Smith starting on the bench as she returned to the England fold for the first time since the World Cup.
England could well have been ahead in the opening minutes as Jess Clarke found Alex Scott on the right, her cross picked out an unmarked Ellen White whose looping header landed on the top of the net.
White then tested Milena Vukovic with a long range effort, the Serbian keeper scrambling across goal to palm the ball away. Vukovic made a more straight forward stop from Rachel Yankey after Rachel Unitt had been released on the left by a good crossfield ball from Fara Williams.
However Serbia had a great chance to take the lead as a slick passing move cut England open, Milena Pesic finding Vesna Smiljkovic who slid a neat ball to Jovana Damnjanovic in the area where her strike brought out a good save from Karen Bardsley.
Back came England and another searching long pass from Williams picked out Yankey who took a good first touch before her shot came back off the near post before being scrambled away. White then dragged a good chance wide after exchanging passes with Clarke on the edge of the area.
Karen Carney was inches over with a 20-yard strike after the Serbian defence failed to deal properly with a Yankey cross. Jill Scott was unlucky with a shot which hit the side netting moments afterwards, following more good work by Yankey down the left.
England continue to carve out good opportunities with White missing the target with a diving header following a good run and cross by Clarke, White then hooking a left foot shot which landed on the roof of the net.
The breakthrough finally came five minutes before half time and the goal was worth the wait. Clarke won the ball on the right and found White, who showed a good piece of trickery to beat Aleksandra Savanovic. White then crossed for Yankey who touched the ball off first time for Clarke to drill a low shot into the corner of the net from the edge of the area.
England picked up the pace at the start of the second half and were soon rewarded with a second goal. Yankey's far post cross reached Clarke who cut the ball back for Carney whose shot was blocked by the legs of Vukovic but White was on hand to tuck home the rebound.
Yankey shot over with her right foot after being put through by Scott, who missed England's next opportunity when she fired straight at Vukovic.
The game was over as a contest and went into a lull for much of the second half. A number of promising England moves broke down around the edge of the area whilst Serbia, despite looking neat in possession, never looked like threatening England's advantage.
Kelly Smith made a welcome re-appearance as a second half substitute following a spell out with injury and she was soon involved with an angled shot which was saved by Vukovic. At the other end, Damnjanovic hit a shot from the edge of the area that was charged down by Casey Stoney.
A poor offside decision cost Carney the chance of a goal; Lidija Stojkanovic's clearance cannoned off Danka Podovac and into the path of Carney who was wrongly flagged when through on goal. However she should really have added a third in injury time after Clarke won the ball from Savanovic and cut the ball back but Carney's tame effort was held by Vukovic.
England therefore go back above Serbia and are two points off the top, with leaders Holland hosting Croatia on Thursday night.
England: Karen Bardsley, Alex Scott, Rachel Unitt, Jill Scott, Sophie Bradley, Casey Stoney, Jess Clarke, Fara Williams (sub Steph Houghton 76mins), Ellen White (sub Rachel Williams 86mins), Karen Carney, Rachel Yankey (sub Kelly Smith 70mins). Subs not used: Siobhan Chamberlain, Laura Bassett, Dunia Susi, Fern Whelan.
Serbia: Milena Vukovic, Danijela Trajkovic, Jovana Damnjanovic, Lidija Stojkanovic, Violeta Slovic, Danka Podovac, Milena Pesic (sub Marija Ilic 73mins), Vesna Smiljkovic, Jovana Retinoic (sub Indira Ilic 64mins), Aleksandra Savanovic, Marija Radojicic. Subs not used: Ana Ivanov, Zorica Karadzic, Olivera Markovic, Nevena Damjanovic, Kristina Krstic.
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