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England book World Cup place in style
 Women's Football News 22 Aug 2014
 
England book World Cup place in style - 22 Aug 2014 - Women's Football NewsWales 0 England 4 (Carney 15, Aluko 38, Bassett 43, Sanderson 45)
att: 3,581; at the Cardiff City Stadium

England picked up the result they needed to confirm their place in the FIFA Women's World Cup Finals in Canada in next year as a three-goal blast in seven minutes before half time saw them to a convincing victory. 
 
England's place in the Finals is assured but Wales now face a crucial trip to Ukraine next month, which they must win if they are to stand any chance of reaching the play-offs.
 
Wales had endured a nightmare spell in front of a record 3,581 crowd at the Cardiff City Stadium but rallied well in the second half and coach Jarmo Matikainen would have been encouraged by the character they showed after the break.
 
Fara Williams drove a shot wide early on for England and Eniola Aluko made a threatening run into the area where her cross was headed away by Kylie Davies. At the other end, Nicola Cousins headed wide from a corner and Angharad James shot wide from Jessica Fishlock's pass.
 
A short corner almost caught out the Welsh defence but Demi Stokes fired her shot harmlessly over from the edge of the area but disaster was to strike for Wales on the quarter hour.
 
After Aluko had been brought down by Fishlock, Karen Carney curled the resulting free kick into the area where the run of Aluko appeared to distract Nicola Davies and the ball bounced into the far corner of the net for the opening goal.
 
Sarah Wiltshire drove a shot just wide at the other end and the striker was unlucky moments later when a superb Loren Dykes cross was headed back to her on the edge of the area but her shot took a deflection off Laura Bassett and flew straight at Karen Bardsley.
 
Back came England and following good set up work by Toni Duggan and Lianne Sanderson, Jordan Nobbs' strike hit the top of the bar. Sanderson curled a shot narrowly over from the edge of the area after a good period of possession from England.
 
As half time approached, England pushed hard and the pressure told seven minutes before the brea when doubling their lead through a moment's inspiration. Sophie Ingle misjudged the bounce from a Duggan throw in and Aluko took full advantage with a chest trap and volley which soared into the roof of the net.
 
Things got even worse for Wales and better for England five minutes later as Williams' corner picked out an unmarked Bassett at the far post and the defender bundled the ball home from point blank range.
 
Before Wales could recover, Alex Scott burst down the right and whipped in a delicious cross for Sanderson to steal in and head past Nicola Davies from six yards.
 
England picked up the pace again from the start of the second half and a cleverly worked corner routine led to a long range shot from Nobbs dipping just over. Steph Houghton forced a fine reflex save from Nicola Davies from another corner as England continued to look dangerous from set pieces.
 
Wales had greatly improved after the break though and were to have a glorious opportunity just before the hour mark. Wiltshire intercepted a pass from Houghton and made her way to the area but was denied by a fine save from Bardsley. Another sloppy pass, this time from Demi Stokes, again let in Wiltshire but the lively striker lacked support and found the angle too tight and her shot hit the side netting.
 
England were next to pass up a great chance after Nicola Davies parried a shot from Carney and Jodie Taylor followed up but her shot came back off the post. Back came Wales, Wiltshire again looking sharp with a burst into the area and drove the ball across goal for Fishlock whose diving header failed to hit the target.
 
Nobbs had a shot deflected narrowly wide and Fran Kirby slotted a 20-yard effort just past the post as the teams finished the match in torrential rain.
 
The damage for the home side had been done though and the celebrations for Mark Sampson and his players over a job well done began in earnest at the final whistle. 
 
Wales: Nicola Davies, Loren Dykes (sub Nadia Lawrence 58mins), Nicola Cousins, Kylie Davies, Sophie Ingle, Michelle Green (sub Carys Hawkins 52mins), Angharad James (sub Josie Green 86mins), Jessica Fishlock, Natasha Harding, Sarah Wiltshire, Helen Bleazard. Subs not used: Sophie Dando, Megan Wynne, Samantha Quayle, Hannah Keryakoplis.

England: Karen Bardsley, Alex Scott, Demi Stokes, Fara Williams (sub Fran Kirby 62mins), Steph Houghton, Laura Bassett, Jordan Nobbs, Karen Carney (sub Jill Scott 67mins), Lianne Sanderson, Toni Duggan, Eniola Aluko (sub Jodie Taylor 60mins). Subs not used: Alex Greenwood, Siobhan Chamberlain, Casey Stoney, Natasha Dowie.

Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:

(top) Laura Bassett heads away from Sarah Wiltshire
(middle) Natasha Harding tries to hold off Demi Stokes
(bottom) A grounded Laura Bassett forces home England's third goal

 
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