Goals from Jodie Taylor and Fran Kirby gave England a 2-1 win over China in their World Cup send-off in Manchester.
The front two each netted inside the opening 10 minutes as Mark Sampson’s side flew out of the traps.
Jade Moore then hit the post before Wang Shanshan pulled a goal back, but England held on comfortably in their final home match before the summer showpiece in Canada.
A Women's International
Thursday 9 April
Academy Stadium, Manchester City FC
There were two changes to the side that started last month’s Cyprus Cup final win over Canada with Moore and Kirby coming in for Karen Carney and Lianne Sanderson.
And it was Kirby who helped get her side off to the perfect start.
The Reading hotshot, who has scored nine goals in just two FA WSL 2 matches, scampered down the left wing and centred for her strike partner Taylor to steer home from 10 yards. There were just 59 seconds on the clock.
She went from provider to goalscorer soon after, collecting Nobbs’s ball into the box, turning neatly and rifling a thunderbolt into the roof of the net.
Moore might have grabbed a third after goalkeeper Zhang Yue’s loose pass fell straight at her feet. However, the Birmingham City midfielder, not renowned for her prowess in front of goal, smacked the upright when well placed. The Lionesses were rampant.
Taylor celebrates her goal against China
But with England threatening to run away with things, China halted their momentum by halving the deficit on 17 minutes.
Sampson’s side failed to clear Wang Shuang’s corner and Shanshan nodded beyond Siobhan Chamberlain.
England’s goalkeeper was only called upon once more before the half-time break and she did well to turn away Li Donga’s 25-yard free-kick.
The hosts were unable to maintain the frantic tempo with which they started the match, but stepped things up after the interval as Kirby stung Yue’s fingertips with a snapshot from inside the box after some persistence from Moore.
But back came China, with Shuang forcing Chamberlain to repel an angled drive from the edge of the box.
Manchester City forward Toni Duggan was introduced from the bench just after the hour mark and came close to marking her first international of 2015 with a goal on her home turf, heading Nobbs’s accurate cross into Yue’s arms.
Alex Scott on the attack against China
England breathed a collective sigh of relief when China goalscorer Shanshan completely missed her kick when just a few yards out and unmarked at the back post.
Hao Wei’s side pressed for an equaliser late on but England held on rather comfortably.
And there was a late landmark for Ellen White as the Notts County striker came off the bench in added time to earn her 50th cap.
England have one more match, against the World Cup hosts on 29 May, before they get their Canada 2015 campaign under way.
They open up against France on Tuesday 9 June, then face Mexico on 13 June and Colombia on 17 June.
The England team line-up to face China in Manchester
Sampson will name his 23-player squad in May.
England (4-4-2): 1 Siobhan Chamberlain (Arsenal); 2 Alex Scott (Arsenal), 5 Laura Bassett (Notts County), 6 Alex Greenwood (Notts County) 3 Claire Rafferty (Chelsea); 7 Jordan Nobbs (C; Arsenal), 4 Fara Williams (Liverpool), 8 Jill Scott (Manchester City), 11 Jade Moore (Birmingham City); 9 Jodie Taylor (Portland Thorns), 10 Fran Kirby (Reading).
Substitutes: 18 Toni Duggan (Manchester City) for Moore 62, 14 Casey Stoney (Arsenal) for Rafferty 72, 22 Eniola Aluko (Chelsea) for Kirby 72, 23 Lianne Sanderson (Arsenal) for Taylor 79, 20 Ellen White (Notts County) for Jill Scott 90+2
Substitutes not used: 12 Demi Stokes (Manchester City), 13 Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), 15 Gemma Bonner (Liverpool), 16 Jo Potter (Birmingham City), 17 Katie Chapman (Chelsea), 19 Jess Clarke (Notts County), 21 Carly Telford (Notts County), 24 Anita Asante (Rosengard), 25 Gemma Davison (Chelsea), 26 Natasha Dowie (Liverpool).
Goals: Taylor 1, Kirby 10
Head coach: Mark Sampson
China: 1 Yue Zhang, 24 Jiali Tang, 2 Shanshan Liu, 3 Shanshan Wang, 5 Haiyan Wu (C), 6 Donga Li, 7 Yanlu Xu, 8 Jan Ma, 17 Shuang Wang, 19 Ruyin Tan, 23 Guixin Ren.
Substitutes: 25 Rui Zhang for Jiali 46, 14 Rong for Haiyan 55, 18 Han Peng for Yanlu 66
Substitutes not used: 4 Jiayue Li, 10 Ying Li, 11 Li Yang, 12 Shimeng Wang, 13 Qi Gao, 16 Jiahui Lei, 21 Lisi Wang.
Goals: Shanshan 17
Head coach: Hao Wei
Referee: Morag Pirie (SCO)
Read more at http://www.thefa.com/news/england/womens/2015/apr/international-match-china-academy-stadium-match-report#h3oj32g449K7Vyke.99
photo Getty Images
photo Getty images