By Stuart Mawhinney at the Keepmoat Stadium. Thursday, 20 March 2008.
England remain five points clear of their nearest rivals, Czech Republic, with three games to follow for a place at Finland and the 2009 European Championship.
England enjoyed early pressure and when Lianne Sanderson laid the ball back it looked a perfect opportunity for Alex Scott to strike at goal, but the effort was high and failed to hit the target. In a frantic opening Siobhan Chamberlain was called into action just moments later when Katerina Doskova raced clear and struck at goal. Chamberlain was equal to the effort and Faye White cleared the danger.
Alex Scott was then denied her ninth international goal by the unlikely source of Karen Carney. Scott was unmarked at the far post to meet a Rachel Yankey corner, but Karney couldn't get out of the way in time and Zbrilova in the Czech goal breathed again.
In blustery conditions chances were at a premium in the first half hour, but a glorious opportunity fell to White but the England skipper was unable to hit the target. Karen Carney sent an inswinging cross from the left-hand side and White met it well, but unlike in Lurgan where she prodded the ball home to score this time it went wide.
Five minutes before half-time and the visitors again went close when their left-back Lucie Kladrubska had a go from distance, and though Chamberlain was not called to make a save it had the Chelsea 'keeper looked slightly anxious as the ball whistled past the far post.
The first-half was a testing affair for the Three Lions as they struggled to get a rhythym going in swirling wind, and reaching the interval with an unblemished scoresheet was surely a primary objective for the visiting Czech team.
Eniola Aluko and Lindsay Johnson joined the fray at the start of the second period, and Aluko was straight into the action as she led England on an early attack. Rachel Yankey then weaved her way past two Czech defenders only to find the hands of Zbrilova with her cross.
White went close again from a Yankey corner, but the best effort of the second half came from Fara Williams with a dangerous free-kick. Westwood was fouled on the edge of the area presenting an inviting opportunity. Though Williams struck the ball well and beat the wall, Zbrilova was equal to it and clutched the ball gratefully.
With ten minutes left Alex Scott showed perseverence to find an opening in the area, but her left-footed effort drifted over the bar. England pushed forward towards the end, but Czech Republic held out resolutely for a draw that will please the visitors more than the Three Lions.
England: 1 Siobhan Chamberlain, 2 Alex Scott, 3 Casey Stoney, 4 Anita Asante, 5 Faye White (c), 6 Mary Phillip (12 Lindsay Johnson 46), 7 Karen Carney, 8 Fara Williams, 9 Lianne Sanderson (16 Eniola Aluko 46), 10 Emily Westwood, 11 Rachel Yankey
Subs Not Used: 13 Carly Telford, 14 Rachel Unitt, 15 Jody Handley, 17 Sue Smith, 18 Laura Bassett
Czech Republic: 1 Marcela Zbrilova, 3 Petra Bertholdova, 4 Lucie Martinkova, Eva Smeralova (c), 8 Lucie Heroldovaa, 10 Blanka Penickova (6 Adela Pivonkova 88), 11 Katerina Doskova, 12 Veronika Pincova, 15 Lucie Kladrubska (14 Veronica Hoferkova 69), 17 Irena Martinkova, 18 Kamila Vesela
Subs Not Used: 16 Ivana Odlasova, 2 Petra Divisova, 7 Michaela Markova, 9 Jana Kralova, 13 Martina Danielova
Coach: Dusan Zovinec
Referee: Eva Oedlund
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