Wales 0-3 England: Lionesses show clinical edge in superb second-half performance
Wales suffered World Cup qualification heartbreak, as they lost to the old enemy England in their final World Cup qualifier.
After a goalless first half, quick-fire goals from Jill Scott and Toni Duggan gave Phil Neville’s side a comfortable lead, before Nikita Parris confirmed the victory.
In the sixth minute, England thought they were in front. Alex Greenwood’s shot had rattled the crossbar, but Nikita Parris putting it on the rebound, but she was denied by the linesman who flagged for offside.
Wales had their first shot on target moments later. Kayleigh Green found Angharad James and the Everton midfielder shot from 25-yards, forcing Bardsley into a save.
The narrowness of the pitch was causing England to misplace a number of passes, as Helen Ward and Kayleigh Green began to close down their opponent’s defence.
Jordan Nobbs had a shot for England when Toni Duggan’s free-kick wasn’t cleared, but it whistled past the post.
Watford-born Wales international Helen Ward almost scored against her country of birth. Her curling shot after Green dispossessed Houghton was saved by the England keeper.
There were appeals for a penalty before the break. Green chased a ball over the top, as Bardsley swept the ball from her feet, but the referee wasn’t convinced.
Just before the break, Toni Duggan snuck a free-kick to the corner of Wales goal, but O’Sullivan dived down to her goal to save.
England were first out from the changing rooms and their eagerness showed, coming out with a real intensity early on.
The good link-up play between Jordan Nobbs and Toni Duggan, saw Nobbs lay in the Barcelona attacker and O’Sullivan stretched down for the save.
The deadlock was finally broken and Wales conceded their first goal of qualifying. Barcelona attacker Toni Duggan scored on the rebound after Nikita Parris’ cross wasn’t dealt with.
Just minutes later, Wales conceded for the second time. Laura O’Sullivan made a smart save to deny Houghton from a free-kick, but from the resulting corner, the tall Jill Scott flicked her header home.
Duggan was in search of her second goal and was finding space in the box. Jodie Taylor flicked the ball to the Barcelona attacker and Duggan forced O’Sullivan to dive down to guard her goal.
Just over the hour mark, England added a third goal. Alex Greenwood’s free-kick was fumbled by O’Sullivan and Manchester City attacker Nikita Parris tucked it home on the rebound.
Experienced head Helen Ward was replaced by Peyton Vincze as Jayne Ludlow began to send on her younger players. Her side continued to be penned into her own half, lacking in creativity, with England dominant.
As the game approached full-time, Millie Bright went close to a fourth for England, her header going just wide of the post.
(Featured Image: Matthew Lofthouse)