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England take giant stride towards Sweden
 Women's Football News 17 Jun 2012
 
England 1 (Yankey 66) Holland 0
att: 5,505; at Salford City Stadium

A quickly taken free kick midway through the second half by Rachel Yankey gave England a crucial victory which puts them well on course towards qualifying for the UEFA Women's Championships.
 
A largely flat first half performance gave way to a much improved display after the break and Hope Powell's side now need to beat Slovenia and Croatia in the last two group games in order to pip Holland to top spot.
 
England looked nervous in the opening stages and this showed as a low drive from Maayke Jeuver was not held by Rachel Brown and the ball squirted wide for a corner.
 
The first threat from England came as Karen Carney attempted a 25-yard drive which deflected just over the bar but England generally were struggling with their passing and any promising situations were breaking down.
 
England did create an opportunity on 25 minutes as Rachel Williams slid a good ball into the path of Eniola Aluko who made her way into the area where her shot was saved by Loes Geurts.
 
Holland hit back with the dangerous Manon Melis exchanging passes with Heuver before showing a good turn of speed but Brown was on hand to save her low drive. The resulting corner, taken by Lieke Martens, was headed on by Anouk Hoogendijk for Daphne Koster whose shot hit the side netting.
 
Heuver should have done better with a chance on the edge of the area when being found in space by Claudia Van Den Heiligenberg but the striker sent her shot wide of the target.
 
As half time approached, a good passing move from Holland found Martens in the area and it took a vital tackle from Alex Scott to deny her a clear goalscoring chance.
 
England introduced Ellen White as a half time substitute and she got the ball in the net within two minutes as she volleyed home a long ball from Steph Houghton but an offside flag had ruled out the strike.
 
Aluko was unlucky with a shot on the turn which flew just wide and Jill Scott back headed a Carney free kick just over as England finally began to look threatening going forward.
 
England were given a great chance when Van Den Heiligenberg was penalised for handball on the edge of the area, however Fara Williams disappointingly sent a tame shot into the wall.
 
However five minutes later, from virtually the same position, a foul on Williams by Koster led to England taking the lead. As Holland were forming their wall, Yankey quickly took the free kick and planted the ball into the far corner of the net. Despite Dutch protests, the goal - which had echoes of Carney's in the FA Women's Cup Final - was allowed to stand.
 
Holland could have been level a minute later as a cross from the left by Van Den Heiligenberg looped over Brown and hit the inside of the post, before the England defence could scramble the ball clear.
 
Houghton shot over after being picked out by a good pass from Aluko in the area but an even better chance was to come for Holland at the other end. Sylvia Smit floated in a good cross from the right for Melis whose header lacked power and Brown was able to gather comfortably.
 
Yankey was unlucky with a long range effort which flew just over as both teams nervously entered the final few minutes. Sherida Spitse shot wastefully over the bar from a free kick at the other end and with the last kick of the game, Spitse picked up on a loose ball but her shot was held by Brown and England could finally celebrate their victory.

England: Rachel Brown, Alex Scott, Steph Houghton, Jill Scott, Sophie Bradley, Casey Stoney, Eniola Aluko, Fara Williams, Rachel Williams (sub Ellen White 45mins), Karen Carney (sub Anita Asante 72mins), Rachel Yankey. Subs not used: Siobhan Chamberlain, Rachel Unitt, Laura Bassett, Jade Moore, Dunia Susi.

Holland: Loes Geurts, Dyanne Bito, Daphne Koster, Mandy Van Den Berg (sub Leonne Stentler 85mins), Claudia Van Den Heiligenberg, Anouk Hoogendijk, Marlous Pieete (sub Sylvia Smit 74mins), Sherida Spitse, Manon Melis, Maayke Heuver (sub Marije Brummel 72mins), Lieke Martens. Subs not used: Sari Van Veenendaal, Petra Hogewoning, Desiree Van Lunteren, Nangila Van Eyck.


 
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