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England 7 (Greenwood 15, Carney pen 34,60,63, Daly 42, White 50, Christiansen 52)
att: 5,903; at Wycombe Wanderers FC
England returned to action with a very comfortable win at Adams Park, Karen Carney leading the scoring with a hat-trick in a seven-goal rout as they proved far too strong for Serbia.
Mark Sampson opted to hand a full debut to Rachel Daly in an attacking midfield role and there were recalls for Lucy Bronze, Ellen White and Isobel Christiansen.
Daly was soon involved with a quickly taken corner and her low cross was turned narrowly over the bar by Ellen White. The Notts County striker was to go even closer minutes later, a good passing move again with Christiansen creating the chance but White's left foot shot came back off the post.
Steph Houghton brought out a good save from Susanne Nilsson with a 25-yard free kick and Daly was unable to direct a header goalwards at full stretch as England continued to press against the massed Serbian defence.
Lucy Bronze had a header saved but the pressure told as the game reached the fifteenth minute. Fara Williams slid a pass into the area and into the path of Alex Greenwood who buried a low shot past Nilsson and into the far corner for the opening goal.
Bronze again had a half chance when Tijana Krstic failed to deal with a cross but her effort was over the bar. The full back should really have doubled England's lead a minute later though when she was picked out by Greenwood's corner at the far post but she did not hit the target with a free header.
Williams was off target with a long range effort and White also tried one from distance, a dipping effort which was clawed away by Nilsson, Christiansen followed up for the rebound but her shot was wide of the far post.
England were handed a great opportunity to go two ahead when a deflected Greenwood cross was controlled by White who was barged in the back by Mirela Tenkov. A penalty was awarded and Carney duly stepped up to find the corner.
England continued to dictate the match and the third was not too long in coming. Bronze's cross was initially miscued by White but she was still able to set up Daly to sweep home from close range and mark her debut with a goal.
Serbia did respond with Vesna Smiljkovic crossing for Marija Radojicic whose header flew straight at Karen Bardsley. Back came England with Carney firing an angled shot wide but they were satisfied with their three goal lead at the break.
England were on the attack from the start of the second half, Daly electing to pass instead of shooting when the ball deflected to her in the area. Greenwood's cross then picked out Jill Scott whose header was hacked away by Krstic, then Williams unleashed a 25-yard shot which was palmed over by Nilsson.
The pressure soon told though and after Christiansen's initial shot was blocked, White worked herself an opening to plant a left foot shot into the far top corner.
A minute later, it was becoming a rout. Carney made her way into the area and after another block, Christiansen made no mistake from close range and England were five ahead.
Nikita Parris was brought on to make her debut and almost made an amazing impression with her first touch. Greenwood's corner was headed back across goal by Bronze for Parris whose close range header was blocked on the line by Jelena Cankovic.
Carney had a shot from distance palmed away by the overworked Nilsson but Serbia's woes from set pieces were to continue. Another Greenwood corner picked out Parris who again had her header blocked and Carney was on hand to bundle the ball home from virtually on the line.
It was Carney's night and her hat-trick was not too long in coming, albeit in a fortuitous way. Another corner was not dealt with by the Serbian defence and Tenkov's clearance cannoned off the leg of Carney and back into the net.
Houghton almost got into the act as she beat Nilsson to a teasing Carney cross and Christiansen blazed the loose ball over. Gemma Davison, on as a substitute, looked on course to add to the tally when she dribbled past three defenders but Nilsson was able to block her shot with her legs.
Parris fired over from distance and Bronze dragged a shot wide from a good White lay-off as the game continued to resemble an "attack versus defence" exercise. A glorious chance then came as Davison robbed Tenkov and ran clear on goal, Parris was alongside her but Davison attempted too clever a flick and the ball rolled harmlessly through to Nilsson.
Nilsson was again called into action in the final minute of injury time with blocks from both Parris and White but it had been a stroll for England who will be looking for another convincing win when the teams meet again on Tuesday.
England: Karen Bardsley, Lucy Bronze, Alex Greenwood, Fara Williams, Steph Houghton, Laura Bassett, Isobel Christiansen (sub Jade Moore 74mins), Jill Scott (sub Gemma Davison 63mins), Ellen White, Karen Carney, Rachel Daly (sub Nikita Parris 56mins). Subs not used: Siobhan Chamberlain, Alex Scott, Demi Stokes, Casey Stoney.
Serbia: Susanne Nilsson, Aleksandra Kozovic, Tijana Krstic, Mirela Tenkov, Marija Jonovic (sub Dina Blagojevic 66mins), Nevena Damjanovic, Allegra Poljak, Marija Ilic (sub Sanda Malesevic 54mins), Marija Radojicic (sub Olivera Markovic 88mins), Jelena Cankovic, Vesna Smiljkovic. Subs not used: Milica Kostic, Violeta Slovic, Marijana Jankov, Nikoletta Nikolic. .
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Gemma Davison is shadowed by Dina Balgojevic
(middle) Debutant Rachel Daly tries to escape from Jelena Cankovic
(bottom) Alex Greenwood in possession, watched by Marija Radojicic
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