England and Scotland draw 4-4 in an entertaining Cyprus Cup encounter
Scotland 4-4 England
3.30pm GMT, Friday 8 March 2013
by Glenn Lavery
England and Scotland marked International Women’s Day by sharing the spoils in an eight-goal thriller in the Cyprus Cup.
A draw was a fair reflection on a game in which both sides led twice and neither team really deserved to win, with Ellen White, Kelly Smith, Rachel Williams and Toni Duggan scoring the goals.
There were ten changes to the England team that beat Italy on Wednesday with only Steph Houghton keeping her place.
The Arsenal defender moved from left-back into the centre to accommodate Rachel Unitt who was making her first England appearance for a year, while Toni Duggan was handed her first senior team start.
White had the game’s opening chance after just three minutes when she was played into area by Duggan but the Arsenal forward poked the ball narrowly wide of Gemma Fay’s goal.
Shortly after, Jane Ross failed to connect properly with Leanne Crichton’s pass when well placed and then Rachel Brown expertly tipped Kim Little’s 25-yard free-kick over the bar.
Ross wasted another presentable opportunity just before the quarter-of-an-hour mark when found by Little. Ross was unmarked ten yards out and side-footed her effort wide of the target.
Anna Signeul’s side had enjoyed a good ten-minute spell and they made it count when Lisa Evans calmly put them ahead with the first of the afternoon's goals.
She beat England’s offside trap to latch onto Ross’s through ball, rounded the on-rushing Brown and slipped the ball into the empty net.
Fara Williams was inches away from levelling almost immediately but she cracked Jill Scott’s pull-back just wide.
But it was the Scots who were creating the better chances and Brown was once again called upon to tip a Little shot, which deflected awkwardly off Casey Stoney, round the post.
The Three Lions were level five minutes before the break. Unitt’s in-swinging corner was only half-cleared by Scotland, giving the Birmingham defender another chance to send the ball in.
When she did, White rose above everyone to plant a fantastic header beyond Fay for her second goal in as many Cyprus Cup games, following her strike against the Italians on Wednesday.
And despite shading the first half, Scotland found themselves behind at the break. The outside of Karen Carney’s right boot sent Fara Williams clear through the centre. Liverpool’s new recruit raced into the box and pulled the ball back for Duggan to score her first senior team goal.
The second half started in frenetic fashion as Ross and Little re-established Scotland’s advantage within eight minutes of the restart.
Ross beat Brown with an angled drive from inside the box and Little collected Evans’s cut back, skipped past her Gunners team-mate Houghton and drilled the ball into the back of the net.
After Fara Williams and Scott had fired over and Evans tested Brown with a header, Rachel Williams fired home the sixth goal of the game.
Receiving the ball just outside Scotland’s box, the Birmingham forward thumped a low effort beyond Fay to level matters once more.
Smith might have thought she had scored the winner with a poacher’s finish after 77 minutes. Duggan met Fara Williams’s low cross, Fay could only parry the Evertonian’s shot and Smith was there to snap up the rebound.
Little called Brown into action yet again before setting up substitute Emma Mitchell to make it 4-4 with an angled drive from 12 yards.
Fara Williams might have won the game in added time but her low shot was well saved by Fay.
England’s final group game is against New Zealand on Monday and a win will send them into the Cyprus Cup Final.
21 Rachel Brown, 3 Steph Houghton, 4 Jill Scott, 6 Casey Stoney (C) (8 Anita Asante, 28), 7 Karen Carney (10 Kelly Smith, 46), 12 Fara Williams, 14 Ellen White, 16 Dunia Susi, 19 Rachel Unitt, 20 Toni Duggan (9 Eniola Aluko, 78), 22 Rachel Williams.
Substitutes not used
1 Karen Bardsley, 2 Alex Scott, 5 Sophie Bradley, 11 Rachel Yankey, 13 Siobhan Chamberlain, 15 Jessica Clarke, 17 Jordan Nobbs, 18 Laura Bassett.