UEFA Women's European Championship
Qualifying Round, Group One
12.30pm, Saturday 27 October 2007
Banks's Stadium, Walsall FC
Faye White was the only absentee through injury, but England built on their progress and took another step on the long qualifying journey to the next major championship in Finland in two years time.
Alex Scott scored her third and fourth goals of 2007, while captain Kelly Smith and Eniola Aluko also struck to give a suitably emphatic tone to the scoreline.
| |photo FA
Just ten minutes into the game England took the lead through an unlikely source as Alex Scott found herself in the six yard box to head home the opening goal. The chance was created after a fine run and cross from Eniola Aluko, Fara Williams picked up the loose ball at the far post and crossed for Scott to glance the ball into the net.
Although she was deployed in midfield and attack during the World Cup, Scott returned to her familiar right-back role in this encounter, and took her tally toseven goals in 34 appearances for her country with the first goal of the match.
In the moments that followed there was a flurry of chances to increase the advantage with Katie Chapman going close on three separate occasions. The second of her three efforts came after a terrific save from Sviatlana Novikava to deny Kelly Smith rebounded into her path, but she was unable to keep her header down.
Rachel Yankey then went close with a close-range volley that narrowly went wide of the post, pouncing on a Chapman header and acrobatically driving the ball goalwards. Just after the half hour mark England doubled their advantage through skipper Kelly Smith, again with a headed goal as Alex Scott was scorer-turned-provider.
It was an inch-perfect delivery from the Arsenal defender to pick out her teammate on the penalty spot, and Smith made no mistake as she headed the ball forcefully past Novikava.
Shortly before the interval England had a golden opportunity to further cement their lead, Karen Carney burst through on goal having been found by Chapman and instinctively shot at goal when a square pass to Aluko would have surely lead to a simple tap-in for the Chelsea forward.
The opportunity was a distant memory as the teams returned from half-time and Aluko added her name to the scoresheet. Kelly Smith played a perfectly weighted pass into her path and Aluko glided past the last defender and slotted the ball into the far corner.
Aluko then played her part in a sweeping move that gave Hope Powell's side a fourth goal, and a second for Alex Scott. Aluko and substitute forward Lianne Sanderson swapped a superb one-two on the edge of the area before Sanderson angled the looping ball across goal for Scott to fire the ball into the roof of the net.
It was little more than the Three Lions deserved as the growing strength of the squad was emphasised by substitutes Sue Smith, Lianne Sanderson and Jill Scott all coming on and making an impact on the game in the second period. Teams:
1 Rachel Brown, 2 Alex Scott, 3 Casey Stoney, 4 Katie Chapman (12 Jill Scott , 5 Mary Philip, 6 Anita Asante, 7 Karen Carney (16 Sue Smith 46), 8 Fara Williams, 9 Eniola Aluko, 10 Kelly Smith (c) (14 Lianne Sanderson 55), 11 Rachel Yankey Subs Not Used:
13 Siobhan Chamberlain, 15 Rachel Unitt, 17 Lindsay Johnson, 18 Jody Handley Head Coach:
Hope Powell Belarus:
1 Sviatlana Novikava, 2 Viktoria Krylova, 3 Liudzmila Kuzniatsova (6 Irina Kozeeva 58), 5 Oksana Shpak, 7 Volha Radzko (16 Alena Ziuzkova 75), 8 Volha Novikava, 9 Svetlana Astasheva, 10 Natalya Ryzhevich (c), 11 Alesia Davydovic, 13 Sviatlana Ryzhova, 15 Irina Chukisova (17 Maryna Lis 53) Subs Not Used:
4 Volha Manzhuk, 12 Ina Batsianouskaya, 14 Alena Buzinova, 18 Tatsioana Kiose Head Coach:
Vladzimir Kasakouski Referee:
Marylin Remy (France) Assistant Referees:
Karine Vives Solana, Audrey Guerlin (Both France) Attendance: