England got back to winning ways on Tuesday, with a convincing performance and 2-1 victory over Spain in Swindon.
A well-worked goal in the first half saw Beth Mead open the scoring, before Ellen White swept home a second almost straight from kick-off in the second half.
But Spain tested the Lionesses at both the start and end of the game, with Phil Neville making nine changes to the team which started against Canada in Manchester last week, handing a debut to goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck as well as a new central defensive partnership in Millie Bright and Leah Williamson.
And they had to be on full alert in the opening stages as Spain enjoyed almost exclusive possession for the first 15 minutes, but without creating any real clear chances or attempts on Roebuck’s goal.
England found their feet though and got their first scent of goal in the 22nd minute when Mead’s back-heel sent Jill Scott clear in the box. The Manchester City midfielder, wearing the captain’s armband, pulled a pass back for White but she fired over the bar.
The opener arrived ten minutes before the break, and it was a team move worthy of any occasion. It started with Jade Moore, whose probing pass forward picked out Toni Duggan on the left.
She advanced forward, before flicking a pass into White in the left channel of the box, and her first-time cross found the onrushing Mead at the far post to gleefully slide home.
And the Lionesses doubled their advantage less than 40 seconds after the re-start as Moore and Scott combined before the skipper's poked pass into the box found White. Her first-time finish, her 28th England goal, flew into the top corner and gave Panos no chance.
Spain still held a threat though and they reduced the arrears with just over 20 minutes remaining when Caldentey’s run saw her skip past both Rachel Daly and Williamson before teeing up a tap-in for substitute Bonmati.
And Bonmati could’ve equalised in the dying moments, when sub keeper Mary Earps’ clearance found its way to her feet. After rounding Earps, she wastefully chipped the ball wide, with better options to her left and right.
That proved to be their last chance, as England stood firm to get their first win on the Road to France Series.
England next play against Denmark on May 25th where they will be looking to build further momentum ahead of the World Cup this summer. Looking at soccer betting tips and picks soccer betting tips and and picks for the 2019 women's World Cup, the lionesses are currently fourth favorites behind France, the USA and Germany but that could all change if England continue to put in performances similar to one that dispatched the Spanish in Swindon.
England: 25 Ellie Roebuck, 17 Rachel Daly, 6 Millie Bright (Chelsea), 15 Leah Williamson (Arsenal), 3 Alex Greenwood (Manchester United), 20 Jade Moore, 8 Jill Scott (Manchester City) (c ), 19 Georgia Stanway, 22 Beth Mead (Arsenal), 18 Ellen White (Birmingham City), 10 Toni Duggan (Barcelona)
Substitutes: 21 Mary Earps (Wolfsburg) for Roebuck 46, 16 Chioma Ubogagu (Orlando Pride) for Duggan 54, 23 Lucy Staniforth for Moore 54, 4 Keira Walsh for Stanway 68, 24 Gemma Bonner (Manchester City) for Daly 68, 7 Nikita Parris (Manchester City) for Mead 84
Substitutes not used: 1 Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), 9 Jodie Taylor (Seattle Reign), 11 Karen Carney (Chelsea), 12 Demi Stokes (Manchester City), 14 Abbie McManus (Manchester City)
Head coach: Phil Neville
Goals: Beth Mead 36, Ellen White 46
Cautions: Jill Scott 20
Spain: 13 Panos, 7 Corredera, 4 Paredes (c ), 20 Pereira, 16 Leon, 6 Losada, 15 Meseguer, 19 Sampedro, 11 Putellas, 9 Caldentey, 10 Hermoso
Substitutes: 14 Torrecilla for Meseguer 39, 5 Andres for Paredes 52, 3 Ouahabi for Leon 52, 18 Bonmati for Sampedro 63, 12 Sosa for Losada 79, 21 Gonzalez for Hermoso 84
Substitutes not used: 23 Quinones, 2 Jimenez, 8 Torrejon, 17 Latorre, 22 Garcia, 24 Guerrero
Head coach: Jorge Vilda
Goals: Bonmati 68
Cautions: Leon 20
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Foto: Armin Küstenbrück
2020 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open
Wins also for Surrey Storm, Saracens Mavericks and team bath
photos by Tim Mavers-Chance
photo Getty Images