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England 1 (J.Scott 84) Belgium 1 (Cayman 18)
att: 10,550; at Rotherham United F.C.
England kept up their unbeaten record in qualifying for Euro 2017 after a late equalising goal earned them a draw following a lacklustre performance at Rotherham.
For the second qualifier running, England were grateful to Jill Scott as she scored a late goal to prevent them from going down to a first defeat in the qualifying stage since November 2002.
England did start the game on the front foot with Toni Duggan firing a shot over the bar and Jill Scott's lob following a corner being well held by Justien Odeurs.
However the early momentum could not be maintained and Belgium took the lead with their first meaningful attack and a moment Karen Bardsley will want to forget. There seemed no danger from a long ball forward and Bardsley came to the edge of her area to clear but the keeper appeared to take her eye of the ball and completely missed her kick, Janice Cayman keeping her cool to roll the ball into the empty net.
Belgium were visibly boosted by the goal and defended assuredly as a unit and a disjointed looking England struggled to break them down.
Fara Williams did try to catch Odeurs out with a free kick, trying to beat her at her near post, but the keeper was equal to the task. Jill Scott, again looking England's liveliest player, met an Alex Greenwood free kick with a looping header which landed on the roof of the net but they rarely looked like troubling the visitors who deserved their half time lead.
England still found it hard to get going early in the second half, apart from one Greenwood effort which was comfortably saved, whilst at the other end, Bardsley atoned for her earlier error by making stops from Cayman and Julie Biesmans.
The introductions of Karen Carney and Eniola Aluko finally gave the team some pace and drive and the team's tempo was increased.
However they still did not really look like breaking through a determined Belgian side, going closest with a strike from the edge of the area from Steph Houghton which was just off target.
With six minutes left though, England managed to get back on level terms. Alex Scott drove a cross into the area and Carney's header was blocked by Tine de Caigny, the ball falling for Jill Scott who gave Odeurs no chance with a well struck shot from eight yards.
Houghton brought out a save from Odeurs with a late free kick but there were no more scares for Belgium who were fully worthy of at least a point. England now travel to play Bosnia & Herzegovina on Tuesday in their next qualifier and will be hopeful of a vastly improved performance next time around.
England: Karen Bardsley, Alex Scott, Alex Greenwood, Jordan Nobbs, Steph Houghton, Casey Stoney, Fara Williams, Katie Chapman (sub Gemma Davison 78mins), Toni Duggan (sub Eniola Aluko 64mins), Jill Scott, Demi Stokes (sub Karen Carney 56mins). Subs not used: Lucy Bronze, Carly Telford, Laura Bassett, Gilly Flaherty.
Belgium: Justien Odeurs, Heleen Jaques, Maud Coutereels, Lorca Van de Putte, Tine de Caigny (sub Sara Yuceil 90mins), Tessa Wullaert (sub Tine Schrijvers 90mins), Aline Zeler, Janice Cayman, Lenie Onzia, Julie Biesmans, Laura Deloose. Subs not used: Davina Philtjens, Cecile de Gernier, Nicky Evrard, Jana Coryn, Elien van Wynendaele.
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