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Italy peg back England
 Women's Football England International News - 10 Apr 2017
 
England 1 Italy 1
Mark Sampson's 50th match in charge of England ended in a 1-1 draw with Italy at Vale Park.
 
Before the match, Sampson asked his players to produce "foot-to-the-floor" football, and they certainly hit the ground running in Stoke-on-Trent.
 
Demi Stokes had a strike at goal inside 30 seconds, Nobbs saw a long range effort deflected over the top and Karen Carney zipped a left footer just wide from 20 yards as England took control early on.
 
They were still in control when there was a lengthy delay to proceedings midway through the first half following a horrible injury to Alice Parisi, after a clash with Millie Bright, and the midfielder had to be replaced by Aurora Galli.
 
Azzurre boss Antonio Cabrini, who helped Italy win the 1982 World Cup as a player, set his side up in a conservative 4-1-4-1 formation in an attempt to frustrate the hosts. But still England found ways through.
 
Nobbs and Taylor, twice, called Katja Schroffenegger into action as the half time interval loomed - unfortunately for England, the Italy goalkeeper was equal to them.
 
Sampson's charges were soon into the swing of things again in the second half. After half hearted appeals for a penalty were dismissed, Toni Duggan tried her luck from 30 yards but the shot was just too high.
 
Liverpool left back Alex Greenwood replaced Stokes on 69 minutes for her first international appearance since last June, following a long injury lay off and she wasn't on the field more than 60 seconds before England broke the deadlock.
 
Nobbs played a high ball through to her Arsenal club mate Taylor, who was coolness personified as she neatly lifted a shot over Schroffenegger from the edge of the area to put her side ahead. It was a carbon copy of her winner against Netherlands last November.
 
But the lead lasted only three minutes as Cernoia pounced on a weak clearance from Steph Houghton to drill home the equaliser from 18 yards.
 
England were still on top and they had chances to win it late on as substitute Fara Williams, on for Jade Moore, smashed a shot goalwards which Schroffenegger parried but Duggan dragged the rebound wide.
 
An even better chance fell to Greenwood with just two minutes left when she met Carney's deep cross - but she could only head wide of the far post.
 
It was a frustrating result for England but they can take a lot of heart from a dominant display against another Euro finalist.
 
England:
 
Siobhan Chamberlain, Lucy Bronze, Demi Stokes (sub Alex Greenwood 69mins), Jill Scott, Steph Houghton, Millie Bright, Jordan Nobbs, Jade Moore (sub Fara Williams 69mins), Jodie Taylor, Toni Duggan (sub Nikita Parris 90mins), Karen Carney. Subs not used: Carly Telford, Casey Stoney, Laura Bassett, Hannah Blundell, Jess Carter, Izzy Christiansen, Sophie Baggaley, Melissa Lawley.
 
Italy:
 
Katja Schroffenegger, Elisa Bartoli (sub Lisa Boattin 85mins), Sara Gama, Daniela Stracchi, Elena Linari, Cecilia Salvai, Alia Guagni (sub Melania Gabbiadini 56mins), Ilaria Mauro (sub Daniela Sabatino 69mins), Alice Parisi (sub Aurora Galli 37mins), Barbara Bonansea (sub Tatiana Bonetti 60mins), Cristiana Girelli (sub Valentina Cernoia 45mins). Subs not used: Alessia Gritti, Manuela Giugliano, Federica Di Criscio, Valentina Giacinti, Giorgia Spinelli, Francesca Durante.

 
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