Lionesses one step closer to Euros
Sunday, 16 October, 2011
Lois Fidler's side beat Finland to secure spot in final round of qualifiers.
Three goals in the opening eleven minutes helped guide England to a victory over Finland which seals the Young Lionesses place in the Second Qualifying Round of the UEFA European Women’s U17 Championship.
After two wins from their opening two qualifiers, against Israel and host nation Northern Ireland, Lois Fidler’s side knew they would have to beat Finland in Dungannon to guarantee their place in the next round. A draw would have left them relying on other results to see whether they would have been one of the four best runners-up.
And they came out of the blocks flying. Rosella Ayane put England ahead after just six minutes and Katie Zelem continued her international purple patch by scoring her fourth goal in three qualifiers on nine minutes. Abbey-Leigh Stringer made it 3-0 on eleven minutes, virtually ending the game as a contest, though Natalia Kuikka did pull a goal back midway through the first half.
Hollie Kelsh grabbed a fourth goal just before the half-an-hour mark and although Melinda Koivula reduced arrears once more, England held on comfortably to seal their place in the Second Qualifying Round draw which will take place later this year.
The Second Qualifying Round itself will commence in spring 2012.