Brent Hills' young Lions came within five minutes of beating France on Wednesday night.
England 1-1 France
England Women's U21s v France
Women's U21 International Friendly
Wednesday 22 November 2006
St James' Park, Exeter City FC
Brent Hills' England Women's U21 side were within five minutes of defeating France until Elodie Ramos popped up with a well taken header on Wednesday night at Exeter City's St James Park.
The crowd of 4,888 was a record for an England Women's Youth international and got behind the team from the first whistle, and particular the faultless player of the match, Stephanie Houghton.
But it was France who started the game the brighter of the two sides.
With England's players looking to impress with next September's World Cup in mind, it was Elodie Ramos who was first to get a shot on target in the third minute.
Julia Dany and Corinne Petit-Franco also tested Siobhan Chamberlain in the opening quarter of an hour, with the latter catching the eye with some incisive passing from midfield.
The partisan home crowd warmed themselves up on 21 minutes when captain Laura Bassett had a shot blocked on the line following a cross from Emily Westwood, and three minutes later the young Lions took the lead.
Lianne Sanderson put a wonderful through ball down the channel for Michelle Evans and the Everton player swung over a deep cross.
Jill Scott kept the ball alive on the edge of the box and moving away from goal drew a clumsy knee-high challenge from Caroline Pizzala.
The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Sanderson cooly converted the penalty past Veronique Pons.
Pizzala almost redeemed herself straight away with a stinging shot that Chamberlian did well to palm away as the game continued to flow from end to end.
Nine minutes before half-time, Evans had a great chance to double the lead, stabbing over from eight yards, but England held firm to go in at the interval a goal to the good.
After the frenetic pace of the first 45 minutes, the opening period of the second half saw both sides playing some controlled passing football without being able to find a cutting edge.
Dany came closest to restoring parity for the French on 56 minutes but under pressure from Bassett, dragged her shot wide, whilst Carla Cantrell who had only been on the field two minutes, had her snap shot well saved by Pons.
As both sides made a string of changes, England could have sealed the win when Westwood had her shot well saved after a clever reverse pass from Scott with six minutes to go.
But they were made to rue the miss just a minute later as Ramos ghosted in unmarked to head home substitute Alexandra Guine's cross.
England: 1 Siobhan Chamberlain, 2 Stephanie Houghton, 3 Michelle Hickmott (17 Corinne Yorston, 46 mins), 4 Jill Scott, 5 Katie Holtham, 6 Laura Bassett, 7 Gemma Davison (16 Dunia Susi, 60 mins), 8 Kelly McDougall (15 Lynda Shepherd, 80 mins), 9 Lianne Sanderson (12 Carla Cantrell, 60 mins), 10 Emily Westwood, 11 Michelle Evans.
Subs: 13 Nicola Hobbs, 14 Kylie Davies, 18 Danielle Bird.
England Goals: Sanderson 24 (pen)
France Goals: Ramos 85