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All square in Arnold Clark Cup opener

England 1 Canada 1

att: 8,769; at Middlesbrough FC

The Arnold Clark Cup got underway on Thursday with 1-1 draws in both matches played at the Riverside Stadium.

After Germany and Spain had drawn 1-1 in the opening match, hosts England and Canada produced the same scoreline which saw a good first half performance from England followed by a much improved display after the break from the visitors.

Leah Williamson once again took the captain’s armband and started in midfield along Kiera Walsh, whilst there were starting places for Ella Toone and Alessia Russo and Rachel Daly was selected at right back.

England looked lively in the opening stages but the first opportunity went the way of Canada as Kadeisha Buchanan rose highest to meet a corner with a header which was scrambled away.

Williamson shot wide at the other end but the fast pace was to bring a goal for England at the midway point. A corner from the left was met with a punch from Kailen Sheridan, but only as far as Millie Bright who sidefooted it back past her on the volley from fifteen yards.

Lauren Hemp was in good form for England on the left and one good run and cross almost brought another opportunity but for good defending from Buchanan. Russo was inches away from connecting with another good ball into the area, this time from Demi Stokes.

Hemp shot wide from a good position on the stroke of half time but England would have been pleased with their first half efforts and the scoreline at the interval.

Canada looked more purposeful from the start of the second half and captain Jessie Fleming began to become more of an influence on the game. The midfielder shot wide from the edge of the area but the Olympic gold medal winners were back on level terms before too long.

Seizing on a loose pass in midfield, the Canadians powered forward and Fleming found Janine Beckie on the edge of the area, where she took a touch before curling a delightful left foot shot beyond a diving Mary Earps and into the far top corner.

England responded with Hemp forcing a good save from Sheridan but Canada were also looking threatening going forward and Nichelle Prince made a strong run into the England area before shooting straight at Earps.

The game flowed from end to end during the closing stages but both defences stayed firm and neither side was able to made a breakthrough, leaving both having to settle for a point.

England will next be in action on Sunday when they take on Spain at Norwich (3.15pm), whilst Germany will play Canada in the other match at the same venue.

England: Mary Earps, Rachel Daly (sub Lucy Bronze 65mins), Demi Stokes, Keira Walsh, Alex Greenwood (sub Jess Carter 65mins), Millie Bright, Fran Kirby, Leah Williamson (sub Nikita Parris 65mins), Alessia Russo (sub Ellen White 75mins), Ella Toone (sub Georgia Stanway 45mins), Lauren Hemp (sub Beth Mead 66mins). Subs not used: Hannah Hampton, Jordan Nobbs, Niamh Charles, Jill Scott, Ellie Roebuck, Katie Zelem.

Canada: Kailen Sheridan, Jayde Riviere (sub Cloe Lacasse 66mins), Kadeisha Buchanan, Vanessa Gilles, Ashley Lawrence, Jessie Fleming, Julia Grosso (sub Nichelle Prince 59mins), Desiree Scott, Janine Beckie, Deanne Rose (sub Victoria Pickett 80mins), Jordyn Huitema (sub Quinn 59mins). Subs not used: Allysha Chapman, Shelina Zadorsky, Sophie Schmidt, Gabrielle Carle, Tanya Boychuk, Sabrina D’Angelo, Marie-Yasmine Alidou, Sura Yekka.