Rachel Unitt’s first international goal gave England their second win over Holland in five days.
Tuitjenhoorn bij FC
22 September 2004, 6pm
Rachel Unitt’s first international goal gave England their second win in five days against Holland.
Everton left back Unitt, winning her 36th cap, hit the only goal of the game in the 67th minute as England recovered from a poor first half display to claim their seventh victory in ten games against the Dutch following Saturday’s 2-1 success in Heerhugowaard.
But National Coach Hope Powell, despite seeing her team collect another victory in their build-up to the 2005 UEFA Women’s Championship finals, to be held in England next June, was far from happy with her players.
“Not good enough!” was Powell’s verdict. “We were a hundred times better in the second half than we were in the first,” she said, “but we still weren’t good enough.
“We didn’t start too badly but we fell away. We have to learn to keep the momentum going - if we play like that in the first half against the top teams in Europe at Euro 2005, we’ll be beaten before we can make a real impact in the game.”
Midfielder Katie Chapman and striker Kristy Moore both produced good long range efforts as England opened the game promisingly, but a series of defensive errors then handed the home side goalscoring opportunities which should have been taken.
Midfielder Marjan Brouwer hit the post from close range after striker Manon Melis had been allowed to break into the penalty area to make a 16th minute cross.
Seven minutes later Melis herself wasted a fine opening created by England central defenders Lindsay Johnson and Mary Phillip. The Dutch striker, with debutante goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain stranded, sent her ten-yard shot wide of the target.
Midfielder Marieke Ran than failed to make the most of a golden opportunity when she sent in a dreadful cross with two of her colleagues well placed to shoot for goal.
Having survived those scares England gradually worked their way back into the game, though their play was continually littered with mis-hit passes.
A verbal half-time bashing from Powell led to a much better second half performance as Holland, just as they did on Saturday, faded out of contention.
The home side failed to muster a single shot on target after the interval while, at the other end, Chapman had a goalbound 53rd minute shot cleared off the line to set the tone for the closing stages.
Unitt hit the only goal of the game when, cutting in from the left, she appeared to run out of options before sending in a low, right-footed 25-yard shot which crept just inside the far post.
Twelve minutes from time midfielder Fara Williams almost doubled the advantage when she curled an 18-yard shot off the top of the crossbar.
A two-goal margin would perhaps have flattered England, though after that disappointing first half and with the several substitutes all performing well it was in the end a fairly comfortable victory.
“I was pleased with the contributions of the substitutes,” said Powell, “and I felt Siobhan Chamberlain had a good first game. It’s also good to see Katie Chapman getting back to her best, but as far as the team performance is concerned we’ll have to do much better than that if we want to do well at Euro 2005.”
Holland: M. van Pelt; E. Scheenaard, M. Meulen, A. Griffioen, P. Hogewoning; M. Ran (R. de Vries, 77), M. Brouwer (A. Hoogendijk, 64), D. Koster, S. Smit (C. Burger, 64); M. Melis, S. Muller (L. Vermeulen, 72).
Subs not used: M. de Boer, M. Wissink
England: S. Chamberlain (L. Hall, 46), A. Scott (L. Champ, 45), M. Phillip, L. Johnson (A. Asante, 45), R. Unitt, V. Exley (R. McArthur, 45), K. Chapman, F. Williams, E. Aluko (J. Potter, 45), K. Moore (E. Maggs, 65), R. Yankey.
Subs not used: A. Barr, S. Smith, L. Bassett, K. McDougall, J. Handley.