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England 6 (Carney 3,26,39, White 13, Dowie 59, Aluko 61)
att: 6,818; at the Goldsands Stadium, Bournemouth
Karen Carney scored a hat-trick as England cruised to an easy victory over a weak Belarus side in the first of their World Cup qualifying group matches and will feel they should have won by a much bigger margin.
Brent Hills, taking charge for the first time on an interim basis, made three changes from the previous match, the humbling defeat to France in the Euro 2013 Finals. Rachel Brown-Finnis took over in goal, Lucy Bronze made a first start and Jordan Nobbs also came in for Karen Bardsley, Steph Houghton and Anita Asante.
It was Karen Carney who made the breakthrough with just three minutes on the clock, bursting through on goal and although her left foot strike was not the cleanest, it was enough to find the net via the far post.
Ellen White was to get another chance moments later when she blazed over but the striker did not have to wait long before adding the second. Carney's pass was laid off by Nobbs into her path and this time she made no mistake by clipping the ball past the oncoming Volha Savastsyan.
Duggan went close with a header from Carney's cross whilst White and Aluko both had shots blocked as England began to lay siege to the Belarus goal.
White fired a shot inches over from around 25 yards before Belarus came up with a decent move, Anastasiya Kharlanava exchanging passes with Liana Mirashnichenka before her cross was headed wide by Sviatlana Astashova.
Back came England and, after White challenged Savastsyan, the keeper did well to get up and block from Alex Scott as she pounced on the loose ball. However a minute later, Bronze made a good break down the left and she and Nobbs set up the chance for Carney to drill home from 25 yards for goal number three.
The one-way traffic continued and Duggan threaded a neat through ball into the path of White who made her way into the area but was denied by a good save from the overworked Savastsyan.
Carney was not to be denied though, Duggan's cross picking out Nobbs whose pass picked out Carney and she planted her shot into the far corner of the net to complete her hat-trick.
Aluko sent a header over the bar, when she should really have been flagged for offside, as England finished the first half totally in control.
It should have been five within three minutes of the restart, Duggan's near post cross picked out Aluko but her header failed to hit the target, Carney retrieved and laid the ball back to Nobbs who miscued her shot in front of goal.
Fara Williams picked out Aluko with an excellent long range pass, she cut inside the challenge of Hanna Dzenisenka and fired a shot which looked destined for the far corner but Savastsyan did really well to turn the ball over at full stretch.
England introduced Natasha Dowie as a substitute and it took the Liverpool striker just four minutes to register her first international goal. Carney's cross from the left was initially headed against the bar by Dowie who kept her cool to nod in the rebound.
Only another two minutes elapsed and it was six, White threaded a pass into the area for Dowie who laid the ball first time across goal and Aluko had an easy tap in from close range.
White had a goal disallowed and there was the rare sight of Sophie Bradley trying her luck with a shot on goal which was saved by Savastsyan.
Dowie curled another shot just wide as England continued to pile the pressure on a dispirited Belarus side. Jade Moore had an effort from just outside the area saved and fellow substitute Jill Scott was off target from long range.
Still England continued to create chances in the dying minutes, White's excellent pass picked out Dowie who shot straight at Savastsyan and then Nobbs had an effort saved after being played in by Moore.
There will be far tougher tests for England along the way but they will be pleased with their start and will be looking for a similar performance against Turkey on Thursday.
England: Rachel Brown-Finnis, Alex Scott, Lucy Bronze, Fara Williams (sub Jade Moore 72mins), Sophie Bradley, Casey Stoney, Eniola Aluko, Jordan Nobbs, Ellen White, Karen Carney (sub Jill Scott 62mins), Toni Duggan (sub Natasha Dowie 56mins). Subs not used: Siobhan Chamberlain, Anita Asante, Gemma Bonner, Natasha Dowie, Steph Houghton, Jade Moore, Jill Scott.
Belarus: Volha Savastsyan, Aksana Shpak, Alina Vasilyeva, Tatsiana Kiose, Hanna Dzenisenka, Yulya Sliasarchyk (sub Yuliya Barysenka 26mins), Anastasiya Kharlanava, Anastasiya Linnik, Katsiaryna Avkhimovich, Liana Mirashnichenka (sub Hanna Pilipenka 45mins), Sviatlana Astashova (sub Yuliya Dzenisenka 84mins). Subs not used: Ina Batsianouskaya, Iryna Tretsiakova, Maryia Buzunova, Elvira Urazaeva.
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Alex Scott is tackled by Aksana Shpak
(middle) Karen Carney fires home the second goal of her hat-trick
(bottom) Ellen White takes on Aksana Shpak
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