Canadians win in Cyprus
Monday, 07 March, 2011
Hope Powell's side fail to reach Cyprus Cup Final after 2-0 defeat.
by Glenn Lavery in Nicosia, Cyprus
England failed to reach their second Cyprus Cup final in three years after they went down to Canada in their last Group A match on Monday afternoon.
A 2-0 victory over Italy last Wednesday and a defeat by the same scoreline to Scotland on Friday meant an England victory over the Canadians would seal their place in the showpiece, but a goal either side of half-time put paid to the Three Lions' hopes of Cyprus Cup glory, a competition they won in 2009.
Canada captain Christine Sinclair put her side ahead on the stroke of half-time after Karen Bardsley failed to hold Diana Matheson's drive and substitute Brittany Timko sealed the win on ten minutes into the second period with a well taken half-volley.
England had started the game brightly and were by far the better team in the first 45 minutes, and arguably in the second half, too, but they failed to fully recover after conceding the second goal and Canada will now face Holland in the final on Wednesday.
Hope Powell was able to give Sophie Bradley her first slice of Cyprus Cup action as the centre-back had recovered from an adductor injury and she partnered Faye White in the centre of the defence. Unfortunately, the injury appeared to resurface midway through the second half and Bradley had to be replaced by Casey Stoney.
England were on top from the first whistle though and they fashioned two early chances courtesy of some positive play from the impressive right-back Dunia Susi.
The Birmingham City Ladies player dashed down the wing twice in the first six minutes and crossed for, firstly, Ellen White and then Rachel Yankey. White perhaps should have done better than to guide her right-foot shot wide of the far post while the latter slid in and prodded over.
Then came a scare as Kelly Smith inocuously caught her studs in the turf and lay stricken for a few moments holding her hip. Luckily for England, after a quick bit of treatment, she was able to continue.
Alex Scott, playing in advance of Susi down the right, was the next England player to have a shot at goal when Canada failed to properly clear Yankey's corner, but Erin McLeod held comfortably. Ellen White then came close when she chased down the 'keeper from the subsequent goal-kick.
Anita Asante tried her luck from distance before Canada had their first effort on the half hour mark, as Matheson sent her left foot attempt over the bar after being found by her captain.
However, that duo made amends in added time at the end of the first-half and punished Powell's side on the counter-attack. An England foray forward petered out near the Canadian 18-yard line and Sinclair broke at pace. Approaching England's area she played the ball square to Matheson who struck firmly at goal. Bardsley was unable to hold the shot and Sinclair pounced on the rebound to score.
Things got even worse for England just ten minutes into the second half when Timko, on for Chelsea Sinclair, doubled the Canadians' advantage. She met Candace Chapman's deep cross on the half-volley and dinked the ball over Bardsley from 20 yards to make it 2-0.
Similar to the Scotland game on Friday, England lost their way a bit after conceding the second goal and it took five minutes before their next sight at goal, Ellen White heading Yankey's cross straight at McLeod.
Two more Canadian substitutions and the injury to Bradley stemmed the game's flow and neither 'keeper was overly tested in the second period, though Smith came close to reducing the deficit as her shot landed on the roof of the net.
As the rain began to pour down, England did have the ball in the net on 76 minutes but Faye White was adjudged to have been illegally leaning on Emily Zurrer as she headed home Alex Scott's centre and the goal was disallowed.
Ellen White clipped the top of the bar with a cross shot and, in the 90th minute, Yankey headed Smith's centre into McLeod's arms. They were to prove England's final opportunities of the game and they now have to prepare for one final game on Wednesday against South Korea.