VIDEO: Ton-up Yankey guides Lions into play-offs
Thursday, 29 July, 2010
Winger scores in landmark game as England beat Turkey 3-0.
by Glenn Lavery at Banks's Stadium
To watch highlights of England's 3-0 victory over Turkey,
On the night of her 100th cap, Rachel Yankey helped fire England into the World Cup play-offs as her well-taken first-half finish set Hope Powell’s side up for a convincing 3-0 victory over Turkey.
After earlier hitting the bar, captain for the night Yankey latched on to Alex Scott’s cute pass and clipped the ball past the on-rushing ‘keeper Duygu Yilmaz to give England the lead in the 22nd minute.
Half-time substitute Ellen White doubled the advantage just after the hour mark when she turned home Jill Scott’s pass and Jess Clarke headed England’s third on 76 minutes, after Faye White had helped on Yankey’s in-swinging corner.
The Three Lions are now level on points with Spain at the top of Group 5 but a better head-to-head record means that England will top the group regardless of their result in their final qualifier in Austria next month. They can now look forward to a two-legged play-off, both of which will take place in September.
Early on, the game looked set to follow the pattern from when these two sides last met - last November - with England dominating possession but finding a wall of ten Turkish players standing in their way. However, a long range effort from Fara Williams after six minutes was quickly followed by Yankey’s vicious cross-cum-shot which skimmed the crossbar as England began to motor, roared on by a vociferous home crowd.
Jess Clarke, one of the Three Lions’ brightest performers, was momentarily switched to the left wing and almost set up Williams to score, but, unmarked, her header went wide of the post. Almost immediately after, it was Jill Scott’s turn to provide the ammunition, this time from the right, however Katie Chapman couldn’t get a true connection on the ball.
On 22 minutes, after consistently threatening to break the deadlock, centurion Yankey then fired the hosts into a wholly deserved lead. The winger probably couldn’t have scripted it better herself. A slick passing move involving Eniola Aluko, Alex Scott and Yankey ended with the England skipper finding the bottom corner with a cool finish.
Unlike in Izmir in November, Powell’s side had broken Turkey’s resistance early, allowing them to display a more expansive style of play for the remainder of the game. They knew they had one foot firmly in the play-offs.
Aluko wasted a decent chance moments after the goal when she robbed Cansu Yag of possession, only to scoop the ball over the bar, and Jill Scott called Yilmaz into action when she headed an inspired Yankey’s centre goalwards. England could sense that a second goal would all but extinguish Turkey hopes.
That second goal almost came on the stroke of half-time when Clarke scampered down the left before cutting the ball back to Chapman, who sent her shot narrowly wide with the outside of her right foot.
The second half began in much the same vein as the first with England on top and Williams appeared determined to get herself on the scoresheet, forcing Yilmaz into one of her many fine saves with a 50th-minute free-kick. Substitute White, on for Aluko, then had an even better chance to double the lead when she connected with Rachel Unitt’s free-kick but Arsenal’s new recruit could only head over. She soon made amends.
On 62 minutes, White, who has impressed since breaking into the senior team, was found by Jill Scott’s through ball and she prodded beyond Yilmaz , who had rushed from her line, and the whole crowd leapt to their feet as the ball dribbled over the line to put England in a commanding position.
It might have got even better for England less than a minute later when Williams curled a delicious free-kick to the far post but, from point-blank range, Yilmaz somehow kept out Chapman’s header. Yilmaz continued to excel herself when she clawed away Jill Scott’s close range shot after Turkey failed to clear their lines, but there was nothing she could do about England’s third.
Yankey’s 76th-minute corner was flicked on by Faye White and there was Clarke, unmarked at the back post, on-hand to head home and guarantee a play-off berth.