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England Under-19 were beaten 2-0 by France in their final match of the season, a friendly international at St George's Park.
The match was a part of France's preparations for next month's UEFA Women's Under-19 Championship Finals in Slovakia, whilst England, who narrowly missed out on a place, were looking ahead to next season's qualifiers with over half of their squad still available for selection.
It was France who took the lead though on the quarter hour when Emelyne Laurent broke through and outpaced the England defence before clinically finishing inside the far corner.
France were looking confident in possession and they almost added a second when Julie Thibaud unleashed a shot from 25 yards which looked destined for the top corner but Sian Rogers pulled off an excellent save, tipping over at full stretch.
There was a scare for Rogers two minutes later when her clearance was charged down by Anais Pugnetti but the England goalkeeper was able to avert the danger. Moments later, England produced their best moment of the first half when Danielle Brown did well to get to the goal line and cut the ball back for Mollie Green but a French defender managed to get a touch on the ball, causing the striker to fire her shot over the bar.
Thibaud was to go close again on the stroke of half time with a free kick which dipped just over.
Six minutes into the second half, France doubled their lead. The England defence backed off as Elise Legrout carried the ball into the area where her cross was turned in at the near post by Clara Mateo.
Both teams made several changes during the second half but the pattern of the game continued with France continuing to look strong against a hard working England side. England did come close just before the hour but Sarah Mayling's corner was fractionally too high for Megan Finnigan who could not direct her header on target.
Christy Gavory showed some good touches after coming on as a substitute and the midfielder almost increased her side's lead after robbing Chloe Peplow and carrying the ball forward before her shot from 25 yards came back off the bar.
Ellie Roebuck, on as a second half substitute, pulled off a good save to keep out a shot from Anna Clerac following more good work from Gavory. With nine minutes remaining, Clerac looked to be on course to score after Thea Greboval put her through on goal but Gabrielle George came to her side's rescue with a superbly timed tackle, the ball running loose to Mateo who drove her shot over.
It had been a tough game for a younger England side against more advanced opponents but there was plenty for Mo Marley to take out of the game. Sophie Stamp in particular had a good game both in midfield and defence whilst Mayling was lively up front and the likes of Georgia Allen, Paula Howells and Lucy Loomes all did well after coming on during the second half.
The end of the match was followed by a pre-arranged penalty shootout, which ended in a 7-6 victory for England.
England Under-19: Sian Rogers (sub Ellie Roebuck 53mins), Mayumi Pacheco, Danielle Brown (sub Eloise Wilson 60mins), Sophie Stamp, Gabrielle George, Chiara Ritchie-Williams (sub Georgia Allen 53mins), Emma Kelly (sub Paula Howells 53mins), Chloe Peplow (sub Lucy Loomes 81mins), Sarah Mayling, Megan Finnigan, Mollie Green (sub Rinsola Babajide 81mins). Subs not used: Mollie Rouse, Zoe Cross.
France Under-19: Manon Heil, Naweal Ouinekh, Thea Greboval, Agathe Maetz, Elisa De Almeida, Lisa Fragoli (sub Catherine Karadjov 66mins), Emelyne Laurent (sub Clara Mateo 45mins), Elise Legrout (sub Laura Condon 78mins), Anais Pugnetti (sub Anna Clerac 66mins), Julie Thibaud, Pauline Dechilly (sub Christy Gavory 45mins). Subs not used: Mylene Chavas, Heloise Mansuy, Andrea Prette.
Photo - Georgia Allen tries to win the ball from Elise Legrout.
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