By Stuart Mawhinney at Roots Hall.
England 4-0 Iceland Yankey 23, Chapman 45+1, Smith 64, Chapman 69
7.45pm, Thursday 17 May, Roots Hall
England signed off for the season in style with a second successive 4-0 victory, this time over Iceland, in front of almost eight thousand fans at Roots Hall.
With goals from Rachel Yankey, a brace from Player of the Match Katie Chapman,and a fine strike from Kelly Smith it was a confident display that will send England on the road to China in a positive frame of mind.
The last home game before the World Cup came four days after the first European Championship Qualifier in which Hope Powell's side were victorious by the same margin, using a number of players in the two games it was an important final lesson before the tournament kicks off in September - and a final farewell for the England faithful.
England took the lead in the 23rd minute through Rachel Yankey, arriving late at the back post the Arsenal winger did well to guide Katie Chapman's cross into the bottom corner. Chapman's cross was angled perfectly to evade the Iceland defence, and Yankey's surge into the box was right on cue.
Chapman was provider-turned-scorer on the stroke of half time as she forced home a Rachel Yankey corner to send England into the break buzzing. It was a goalmouth scramble as the goalkeeper failed to claim the cross and Chapman showed great bravery to put her name on the ball and turn it home.
Karen Carney showed fleet of foot to set England off on another counter attack after the interval, taking the ball past three defenders before launching the ball down the wing towards Kelly Smith. Smith cut in onto her right foot and picked out Jill Scott in the area, but unfortunately for the Everton midfielder the finish eluded her.
Karen Carney then provided a superb invitation for Kelly Smith to get on the scoresheet that the England skipper was not going to pass up. Dropping the ball into the perfect area with the outside of her boot, Smith had little to do with the ball before slotting it home.
Two minutes later Smith had another chance to score in even easier circumstances, from the penalty spot. Iceland's skipper Katrin Jonsdottir handled the ball presenting the home side with a penalty, but Thore Helgodottir did well to hold the firm effort from Smith and deny her a second goal in as many minutes.
Katie Chapman made up for the missed opportunity three minutes later with an excellent volley to double her tally for the evening. It was Karen Carney again at the heart of the move, this time lofting a delicate pass through to Chapman that the combative midfielder fired into the roof of the net from 20 yards.
It was no more than Chapman deserved for a stirring midfield performance, but credit must also go to Karen Carney for starting so much of England's forward momentum with some quality football.
At the end of the game there was a friendly penalty shootout as Hope Powell continues her precise preparation for the World Cup in China. In the last game in this country before the Three Lions head to China, taking penalties in front of a crowded stadium is just one of the factors that could well become crucial training for the important games in the World Cup.
England: 1 Rachel Brown (Everton), 2 Alex Scott (Arsenal) (21 Lindsay Johnson (Everton) 46), 3 Casey Stoney (Charlton Athletic), 4 Katie Chapman (Arsenal) (15 Steph Houghton (Sunderland) 79), 5 Anita Asante (Arsenal), 6 Mary Phillip (Arsenal) (14 Faye White (Arsenal) 46), 7 Karen Carney (Arsenal) (18 Sue Smith (Leeds United) 69), 8 Fara Williams (Everton) (12 Jill Scott (Everton) 46), 9 Jody Handley (Everton), 10 Kelly Smith (Arsenal) (c) (16 Lianne Sanderson (Arsenal) 84), 11 Rachel Yankey (Arsenal) ( 17 Jo Potter (Charlton Athletic) 46)
Subs Not Used: 13 Siobhan Chamberlain (Bristol Academy), 19 Vicky Exley (Doncaster Rovers Belles), 20 Rachel Unitt (Everton),
Iceland: 1 Thore Helgadottir, 2 Gudrunsoley Gunnarsdottir, 3 Grete Mjoll Samuelsdottir, 4 Edda Gardarsdottir (14 Olina Gudbjorg Vidarsdottir 77), 5 Asta Arnadottir (15 Gudny Bjork Odinsdottir 62), 6 Sif Atladottir (16 Gudny Petrina Thorsdottir 81), 7 Rakel Logadottir (18 Anna Bjorg Bjornsdottir 86), 8 Katrin Jonsdottir, 9 Margret Lara Vidarsdottir, 10 Dora Maria Larusdottir, 11 Eria Steina Arnardottir (17 Katrin Omarsdottir 53)
Subs Not Used: 12 Gudbjorg Gunnarsdottir, 13 Helga Sjofn Johannesdottir,
Referee: Wendy Toms
Yankey 23, Chapman 45+1, Smith 64, Chapman 69
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images