3-1 victory over Slovakia seals spot in Elite Qualifying Round.
England 3-1 Slovakia
UEFA European Women's U19 Championship
First Qualifying Round
7pm (BST), Monday 21 September 2009
Gigg Lane, Bury FC
Click here for the First Qualifying Round fixtures and results
England booked their place in the Elite Qualifying Round of the UEFA European Women's U19 Championship with a 3-1 victory over Slovakia.
Mo Marley’s team still have to face Norway on Thursday but that showdown will only determine which nation tops the four-team group. Norway defeated Belarus 12-0.
Two goals from Laura Coombs and one from Issy Christiansen, all in the first half, saw England come from a goal down to seal the win. Head Coach, Mo Marley, felt her side responded well from the early setback.
“Credit to their goal, it was a top class free-kick and you can’t really account for those things,” she said. “The important thing is to respond back from them kind of things and that is exactly what we did.
“I thought we played really well against a good technical Slovakia team. Overall it was a better team performance than Saturday. There was a lot more success on the pitch today so we are really pleased with that.
“The players are happy with the outcomes. I think their attitude and application on the pitch has been first-class so far.”
It was far from the perfect start though for the hosts as they went behind in the early stages of the game. Lucy Bronze was booked after just four minutes for pulling down Ivana Balazikova just outside the penalty box. The resulting free-kick was bent home into the top right-hand corner with a stunning strike from Dominika Skorvankova.
But England responded in the perfect manner and it took them just two minutes to level the scoring. Christiansen fed the ball through a gap in the Slovakia back-four and Coombs stroked the ball home with a tidy finish.
The goal seemed to knock the wind out of Slovakia and the hosts started the press their dominance on the game. On 19 minutes England put their noses in front of the game. Lucy Staniforth had been terrific down the right wing but this time she gambled by moving into the middle of the pitch before playing a pin-point pass into the box for Coombs to grab her second of the night.
Marley would have been pleased with her side’s performance in the first half but England’s third goal would have brought a huge smile to her face. It was the smallest women on the pitch in Christiansen who headed home from an England corner moments before the half-time interval.
Slovakia should have pulled one back on 62 minutes. Half-time substitute Diana Rybarova crossed perfectly for Susokva who was unmarked in the box but failed to hit the target with her header.
England had chances themselves to stretch their lead. Staniforth forced a good low save from ‘keeper Frederika Pajonkova with twenty minutes left in the game.
A minute later Staniforth turned provider as her cross found Lauren Bruton, but once again Pajonkova was at her best in the visitor’s goal to keep hold of the shot.
It had been a relatively quiet evening for England ‘keeper Becky Spencer but she was called into action in closing few minutes. Skorvankova was given a yard of space and chose to shoot from 20-yards but Spencer got down low and kept out with a superb save.
Rebecca Spencer, Lyndsey Cunningham (Toni Duggan, 56), Gilly Flaherty, Abbie Prosser (Demi Stokes, 79), Lucy Bronze, Gemma Bonner, Lucy Staniforth, Jordan Nobbs, Isobel Christiansen (Lauren Bruton, 66), Laura Coombs, Jess Holbrook
Subs not used Lauren Davey, Stephanie Marsh, Emma Follis, Rebecca Jane
Head Coach Mo Marley
Pajonkova, Randova (Bartovicova, 45), Gibasova (Lackovicova, 69), Balazikova, Biroova, Antalova, Skorvankova, Vojtekova, Lapinova, Mittuchova, Krasnanska (Suskova, 45)
Subs not used Ticliarova, Cupajova, Lackovicova, Rybarova
Head Coach Martin Pacholek
Referee Irena Tereshchenko (RUS)
Assistant Referees E Nuykina (RUS) & L Ratajo (CZE)
Fourth Official L Adamkova (CZE)
Goals Skorvankova 4 mins, Coombs 7 mins, 19 mins, Christiansen 44 mins