England's women provide strong finish
Despite suffering the early setback of conceding a 4th minute goal to a highly motivated Finnish side, England's women bounced back to secure a 2-1 victory in Thursday night's friendly international held at Leyton Orient's Brisbane Road ground.
England coach Hope Powell had stated before the game that it was her intention to use the match as a preparation for the forthcoming European Championship play-off games against the Ukraine. Nevertheless, she could not have been impressed when Finnish striker Heidi Kackur profited from a defensive mix-up to put the visitors ahead.
Stung into action, England then took the game to the Finns with Doncaster Belles winger, Karen Burke proving to be a potent attacking threat. Having seen her 12th minute cross-shot saved, Burke then levelled the scores in the 15th minute as she met a cross from the left with a sweetly struck volley into the far corner.
Once back on level terms, England grew in confidence and, with veteran Arsenal striker Marieanne Spacey proving a handful up front, they took the game to their opponents.
It was Spacey - winning her 85th cap - who set up what proved to be the winning goal. Her flick-on from a Sue Smith corner caused confusion in the Finnish rearguard and Arsenal's Angela Banks stole in to notch a predator's effort from close range.
The second half saw more England pressure with both Spacey and Burke both missing highly presentable chances but coach Powell was more concerned with the performance.
"It was a good work-out for us ahead of the Ukraine play-offs," she said after the game.
"I was happy with the way we came back after a tricky start. The performance was good and we showed the spirit that we have in the side at the moment. We can now look forward to the Ukraine games in confident mood."