ENGLAND WOMEN 2, CHINA 1
Early strikes by Jodie Taylor and Fran Kirby
Shanshan Wang pulled one back for China
Final friendly for England Women before Women’s World Cup in Canada
Manchester City’s Academy Football stadium hosted the final England Women’s final warm-up game before the Women’s World Cup in June this year – a friendly fixture against China watched by 5,665.
England had returned from their third successful Cyprus Cup campaign where they beat World Cup hosts Canada 1-0 in the Final after group wins over Finland and Australia, plus a draw against The Netherlands. in early March.
The Lionesses will go on to face France on June 9 and Mexico on June 13 in Moncton, before playing Colombia on June 17 in Montreal in Group F.
It was a positively balmy night at the City Football Academy Stadium and a packed crowd ably assisted by England’s brass section witnessed a fast start from England who went into the lead within a minute of kick off.
Fran Kirby, one of only two changes from the side that beat Canada in March, was in the side in place of the injured Karen Carney and produced a fine cross from the left which was finished off by Jodie Taylor whose shot went in off the China ‘keeper Yue Zhang after just 59 seconds.
Kirby lashed in England’s second in the 10th minute after a cross from the right by captain Jordan Nobbs.
And Jade Moore, who was England’s only other change from their Cyprus Cup victory over Canada (for Lianne Sanderson), almost made it three in the 14th minute when her shot came back off the left hand upright.
China struck back in the 17th minute after England failed to clear a Chinese corner and Shanshan Wang was first to the ball from Fara Williams’ hack off her own line.
China regained their composure and restricted England to a couple of Jill Scott shots on goal while having a free kick of their own acrobatically saved by Siobhan Chamberlain in the 41st minute.
England’s work rate in the second half to win the ball from a determined China side was commendable and they could have extended their lead in the 58th minute when Kirby could only fire her shot straight by Zhang after meeting Moore’s lofted pass.
Manchester City Women’s Toni Duggan came on as a second half sub to try and cement her place in the England squad for the Women’s World Cup.
Duggan had two efforts on goal but scooped her first shot over the bar and headed her second directly at Zhang in the Chinese goal.
China were not to be underestimated, though, as they made the most of the ball and could have equalised in the 68th minute when Shuang Wang had a long distance shot saved by Chamberlain.
Shenshen Wang might have had the goal at her mercy late on but couldn’t dig the ball out from under her feet after substitute Peng Han’s free kick was flicked into the area with 14 minutes to go.
Late substitutions disrupted the England intensity but they managed to hold on to their lead to go to Canada this summer with a win under their belts despite some late Chinese pressure.