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England 1 (Mead 36) Mexico 1 (Ibarra 71)
England's hopes of progressing to the quarter finals of the FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup are in the balance after being pegged back in their second group match in Moncton.
A brilliant goal from Sunderland hot shot Beth Mead saw Mo Marley's side deservedly in front at half time but a disappointing second half display saw them concede a sloppy equaliser and Mexico could well have snatched victory towards the end.
England opted to field an unchanged side from that which had drawn with South Korea and once again they started the game confidently and passed the ball around well but without managing to get behind a Mexican defence which was happy to sit deep.
Sherry McCue drove a long range shot narrowly off target and Leah Williamson headed wide from a Katie Zelem free kick as England tried to remain patient. Zelem floated another kick just over the bar and Jess Sigsworth drilled an effort over the bar as England worked hard to try and get themselves in front.
Mexico had threatened little during the opening half hour but out of the blue, Fabiola Ibarra produced an audacious 30-yard lob which looked destined for the back of the net but an alert Lizzie Durack was able to palm the ball over the bar.
Five minutes later though, England took the lead and in some style. Receiving the ball 30 yards from goal, Mead turned and nutmegged her marker Karla Nieto before unleashing an unstoppable shot which sailed past Cecilia Santiago and into the far corner of the net.
England took their advantage into the break but Mexico stepped up the pace after the interval and carried the game towards their opponents. There was a warning for England as Carolina Jaramillo found space in the area but shot straight at Durack whilst Claudia Lopez had an effort cleared from in front of goal by the covering Aoife Mannion.
Nerves had taken hold of the England side who had lost the slickness to their play and Mexico began to pile on the pressure. Durack turned a cross-cum-shot by Tanya Samarzich over the bar and the same player fired a shot inches wide.
However England could well have been two goals ahead with a well worked counter attack which saw Zelem's pass release Nikita Parris in the area. The winger jinked inside her marker and steered her shot past Santiago but was unlucky to see the ball strike the inside of the post and away to safety.
Just two minutes later, Mexico got themselves back on level terms. A casual goal kick taken by Durack was intercepted by Ibarra who fired a shot back goalwards. The ball struck the underside of the bar and bounced well over the line, no goal appeared to be given but Samarzich made sure by bundling the rebound in past Hannah Blundell on the line.
After looking so assured during the first half, England continued to give the ball away sloppily as their confidence drained and they had a huge let off when the otherwise excellent Leah Williamson left a back pass short and Jaramillo stole in, however her shot lacked power and Durack was able to come to her rescue and smother.
Martha Harris drove a late shot wide following good work by Abbey-Leigh Stringer but England had to settle for their second successive draw after what had a proverbial 'game of two halves'.
A victory in the final game against Nigeria will ensure that England qualify for the quarter finals, possibly as group winners, from what has been a very closely contested group.
England: Lizzie Durack, Martha Harris, Hannah Blundell, Sherry McCue, Aoife Mannion, Leah Williamson, Nikita Parris, Jess Sigsworth (sub Jade Bailey 88mins), Beth Mead, Katie Zelem (sub Abbey-Leigh Stringer 77mins), Melissa Lawley (sub Natasha Flint 61mins). Subs not used: Meaghan Sargeant, Paige Williams, Megan Walsh, Ellie Stewart, Gabrielle George, Jess Carter, Caitlin Leach.
Mexico: Cecilia Santiago, Clarissa Robles, Estefania Fuentes, Paulina Solis, Mariel Gutierrez, Karla Nieto, Tanya Samarzich, Amanda Perez (sub Luz Duarte 57mins), Claudia Lopez (sub Greta Espinoza 70mins), Carolina Jaramillo (sub Mariana Cadena 80mins), Fabiola Ibarra. Subs not used: Nancy Antonio, Emily Alvarado, Rebeca Bernal, Taylor Alvarado, Jenny Chiu, Jacqueline Rodriguez, Gabriela Paz.
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