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Women's Football News
Wales 0 England 3 (Lawley 62, Parris 83, Mead 87)
England took a giant stride towards reaching the semi finals of the UEFA Women's Under-19 Championships as three second half goals, including a marvellous strike from Nikita Parris, saw them to victory over Wales at Parc y Scarlets.
Sadly the result also means that Wales are eliminated from the tournament with one match still to play and they did not deserve a three-goal defeat after matching England for much of the game in front of a crowd in excess of 1,000, which included Wales manager Chris Coleman.
Wales did need to survive an early scramble though after a corner was not dealt with, Beth Mead tried to force home the loose ball but was twice denied, first by an Alice Evans save and then from the rebound, her shot was blocked on the line.
Wales' best chance so far came on the half hour when a Hannah Keryakoplis corner was headed away by Jade Bailey as far as Angharad James who lifted her shot harmlessly over the bar.
Mead was just unable to control a long ball from Paige Williams which had dropped over the head of Lauren Price and Sherry McCue shot straight at Evans from long range as England's frustrations grew.
Well led by captain Price, who had a good match in the centre of defence, and James who appeared to cover every blade of grass on the pitch, Wales stood firm with a number of important challenges and interceptions and defended extremely well to ensure that the scoreline was goalless at the break.
From the start of the second half, Wales began brightly and Amy Wathan made a strong run towards goal, holding off the attentions of Martha Harris before drilling a 20-yard shot narrowly wide.
However at the other end it needed a fine save after Williams' cross had picked out Parris who controlled well and shot on the turn but Evans did well to dive to her left and keep the ball out.
Less than a minute later though, England broke the deadlock when Melissa Lawley found space on the left and tried her luck from 25 yards, the ball bouncing past the dive of Evans and into the corner of the net.
Wales responded well to the setback and sought a quick reply but it was Parris who went close next, fashioning a chance for herself with another sharp shot on the turn which was just off target.
England were handed a glorious chance to wrap up the match when Parris made another good turn and made her way into the area where she was clipped by Alys Hinchcliffe and a penalty was awarded. It looked a soft decision at best and Parris stepped up to take the kick but her shot rattled the top of the bar and went over.
Barely another minute had elapsed when Mead appeared to be brought down in the area by Lauren Hancock and although it looked a much better case than the previous penalty award, this time nothing was given.
However with seven minutes left, Parris made up for her penalty miss in some style. She picked the ball up and ran at the Welsh defence before unleashing an unstoppable shot from 30 yards which sailed into the top corner of the net, giving Evans no chance.
Hannah Blundell, on as a substitute two minutes earlier, almost made it three with a volley from the edge of the area which was well held by Evans.
The Parris goal seemed to knock the wind out of Welsh sails and England capitalised by adding a third. Parris was once again heavily involved, racing on to Williams' pass and finding Mead who coolly guided her shot beyond Evans.
The Wales players looked desperately tired having given their all and they sank to the turf in sheer disappointment on the final whistle while England began to turn their attention towards picking up the point they require against Denmark on Sunday to secure a semi final spot.
Wales: Alice Evans, Alys Hinchcliffe, Lauren Hancock, Lauren Price, Rhian Cleverly, Angharad James, Amy Thrupp, Rachel Hignett, Hannah Keryakoplis (sub Emma Jones 76mins), Ellie Curson (sub Emile Revitt 82mins), Amy Wathan (sub Samantha Quayle 67mins). Subs not used: Delyth Morgan, Lia Lewis, Kelly Bourne, Chloe Lloyd.
England: Lizzie Durack, Martha Harris, Meaghan Sargeant, Jade Bailey (sub Katie Zelem 54mins), Aoife Mannion, Paige Williams, Melissa Lawley (sub Hannah Blundell 81mins), Sherry McCue, Nikita Parris, Jess Sigsworth, Beth Mead. Subs not used: Megan Walsh, Felicity Gibbons, Natasha Flint, Abbey-Leigh Stringer, Ellie Stewart.
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Meaghan Sargeant and Jess Sigsworth clear from a Wales corner
(middle) Rachel Hignett looks on as Nikita Parris scores her wonder goal
(bottom) Beth Mead scores England's third goal
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