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Late goal pegs back England
 Women's Football News 18 Jan 2014
England 1 (Aluko 10) Norway 1 (Bjaneso 87)
Melissa Bjaneso's 87th minute header denied England victory in Mark Sampson's first game in charge. 
The 31-year-old replaced Hope Powell in December and Eniola Aluko's tenth minute goal was almost enough to defeat Euro 2013 runners-up Norway in La Manga.
But Bjaneso's late intervention denied Sampson that privilege although he can still be satisfied with the manner of his team's performance, as they certainly did enough to win the game.
The new Head Coach gave a senior team debut to left back Demi Stokes and he handed the captain's armband to Steph Houghton, though he won't make a decision on his permanent skipper until after the Cyprus Cup in March.
In all, he made four changes from England's last game, a 4-0 World Cup qualifying win in Turkey in October. Lianne Sanderson made her first appearance since March 2010, replacing Ellen White up front, Houghton came in for Gemma Bonner, Stokes for Sophie Bradley and Karen Carney for Jill Scott.
The Three Lions started the better of the two sides, with Nobbs and Carney firing shots off target early on and it took just ten minutes for Aluko to score the first goal of Sampson's reign.
The Chelsea attacker drove into the box after collecting Carney's pass, cut back onto her right foot and bent a shot towards the far corner, and Norway's 17-year-old debutant goalkeeper Cecile Fiskarstrand was beaten after the ball deflected off her captain Trine Ronning and looped into the net.
The game became a bit disjointed after the opener, but Karen Bardsley stayed alert and pulled off a top class reaction save to deny Elise Thorsnes from close range midway through the first half.
Sampson's new side brushed off that scare as Fara Williams cracked a shot inches wide of the post and Nobbs forced Fiskarstrand to parry away a fierce 25-yard drive.
Ronning almost had the misfortune of deflecting another shot into her own net in an attempt to clear Nobbs's right wing cross just before the break, but the ball crept just wide of the far post.
Norway predictably started the second half on the front foot with Thorsnes shooting narrowly wide on 53 minutes and Kristine Minde forcing Bardsley to turn an angled drive over the bar shortly after. Sanderson then came close to doubling England's lead on the hour mark after being found by Stokes' deep, left wing cross but her header was well saved by Fiskarstrand.
The European finalists came again though, and after Nobbs' attempted through ball to substitute White was cut out, Norway started a counter attack, leading to Ada Stolmso Hegerberg calling Bardsley into action for the third time. Manchester City's new signing stood firm and repelled the effort at her near post.
However they did manage to find a late equaliser through substitute Bjaneso, who headed home a right sided corner from ten yards out.
England could still have won the game in the dying embers, as Houghton shot wide and White struck an overhead kick just over the bar.
It wasn't to be however and Sampson opens his international account with a credible draw against top quality opposition. 
England: Karen Bardsley, Alex Scott, Demi Stokes (sub Gemma Bonner 61mins), Fara Williams, Steph Houghton, Lucy Bronze, Eniola Aluko (sub Jill Scott 68mins), Jordan Nobbs (sub Laura Bassett 76mins), Lianne Sanderson (sub Ellen White 68mins), Karen Carney, Toni Duggan (sub Gemma Davison 79mins). Subs not used: Alex Greenwood, Siobhan Chamberlain.

Norway: Cecile Fiskarstrand, Maren Mjelde (sub Catherine Hogh Dekkerhus 45mins), Trine Ronning (sub Marita Skammelsrud Lund 45mins), Ada Stolmso Hegerberg, Caroline Hansen (sub Ingrid Schjelderup 45mins), Nora Holstad Berge, Guro Reiten, Andrine Tomter, Elise Thorsnes (sub Melissa Bjaneso 71mins), Kristine Minde, Lene Mykjaland. Subs not used: Nora Neset Gjoen, Ingrid Moe Wold, Anja Sonstevold.

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