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Northern Ireland 0>
England 6 (White 17,23,49, Bronze 29, Daly 67, Toone pen 75)
Northern Ireland 0
Ellen White hit a hat-trick as England returned to action for the first time in eleven months with a convincing victory over Northern Ireland at a windswept St George's Park.
The match was also notable for Jill Scott winning her 150th cap, a debut goal for Ella Toone, and Hege Riise's first match in charge of her caretaker role as England coach.
Northern Ireland went into the game missing a number of first choice players, and with several of those on show having not played competitively for months, and this showed as England came quickly out of the blocks and White forced an early save from Becky Flaherty.
Flaherty also did well to keep out a header by Lucy Bronze from point blank range but she was left helpless shortly afterwards as White seized on a poor pass out of defence and slotted into the bottom corner for the opening goal.
Six minutes later, a quick counter attack by England saw Bronze released down the right hand side and she crossed for White to glance a header past Flaherty at the near post.
With the wind at their backs, England continued to power forward and Bronze was next to get on the scoresheet, tapping home from close range after Lauren Hemp had made her way to the goal line and squared across goal.
White had looked sharp up front all game and the striker was to complete her hat-trick early in the second half. Receiving a pass from Scott, White did well to hold off the attentions of Julie Nelson before drilling her shot past Flaherty.
White then got the ball in the net a fourth time with a neat finish from Chloe Kelly's through ball but her celebrations were cut shot by an offside flag.
A series of substitutions by both teams then ensued, with Riise giving first senior appearances to four players in total; Toone being joined on the pitch by Sandy MacIver, Lotte Wubben-Moy and Ebony Salmon.
England continued to attack and were further rewarded as Bronze drove a low ball across the face of goal and Rachel Daly was on hand to tuck home from inside the six yard box.
Kelly had looked lively after coming on and she was to be heavily involved in the next goal as she wriggled her way into the area before going down under a challenge from Rebecca Holloway for a penalty. Perhaps surprisingly, Scott did not step up to take the kick on the occasion of her 150th cap but instead it was at the other end of the scale, debutant Toone sending Flaherty the wrong way from the spot.
There were no more chances in the final stages of the game but all in all, it was a highly satisfactory return to match action for England whilst for Northern Ireland, the game served as vital match practice ahead of their forthcoming efforts to qualify for the UEFA Euro finals in the play-offs.
England: Ellie Roebuck (sub Sandy MacIver 57mins), Lucy Bronze, Alex Greenwood, Georgia Stanway, Steph Houghton, Leah Williamson (sub Lotte Wubben-Moy 73mins), Rachel Daly (sub Ebony Salmon 83mins), Jill Scott, Ellen White (sub Beth England 73mins), Jordan Nobbs (sub Ella Toone 45mins), Lauren Hemp (sub Chloe Kelly 57mins). Subs not used: Millie Turner, Beth Mead, Hannah Hampton.
Northern Ireland: Becky Flaherty, Abbie Magee, Julie Nelson, Sarah McFadden (sub Kelsie Burrows 83mins), Rebecca Holloway (sub Toni-Leigh Finnegan 83mins), Chloe McCarron (sub Ciara Watling 54mins), Rachel Furness, Nadene Caldwell (sub Samantha Kelly 83mins), Marissa Callaghan (sub Rebecca McKenna 54mins), Lauren Wade (sub Louise McDaniel 72mins), Simone Magill. Subs not used: Maddy Harvey-Clifford, Ella Haughey, Ashley Hutton, Casey Howe, Emily Wilson.
Photo - Ellen White heads in England's second goal (courtesy of the Football Association).
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