Hope Powell was delighted with the performance of a makeshift side that came from behind to beat Holland 2-1.
After giving her team a "battering" following their 2-1 defeat by Russia last month, England coach Hope Powell was delighted with the performance of a makeshift side that came from behind to beat Holland 2-1 in Heerhugowaard on Saturday.
A team showing five changes, four of them forced through player-unavailability, included two debutantes in the starting line-up, another two who came on as second half substitutes and a captain who had never led the team before.
But the stand-in skipper, Doncaster Rovers Belles midfielder Vicky Exley, produced a player of the match performance which included the equalising goal and a tremendous last-ditch tackle to prevent a Dutch equaliser three minutes from time.
The winner came from substitute Amanda Barr, who had replaced 17 year-old debutante Eni Aluko, and it was a satisfied Powell who reflected on England’s display in the continuing build-up for the 2005 UEFA Women’s European Championships.
"That was a far more pleasing performance," said the National Coach. "I gave the players a bit of a battering after the Russia game, but they’ve given me a positive response and I felt they did really well against a decent side.
"The new players in particular did well. Everyone who came into the side did a job and I thought that Vicky Exley, who hasn’t been in the starting line-up much in our recent matches, was outstanding.
"The players will be lifted by their performance and it will stand the younger ones in good stead for the future. We’ve got more experienced players to come back, but the ones who have done so well here will make it difficult for me to leave them out."
Powell will have two of her regulars, Arsenal colleagues Mary Phillip and Leanne Champ, available for Wednesday’s second meeting with the Dutch as the Gunners have now completed their club’s Uefa Cup second round tournament in Sweden.
Arsenal and England captain Faye White will not, however, be joining up with the England party as she sustained an ankle injury during the Swedish tournament and is returning to Highbury for treatment.
"It’s a pity about Faye because I would have liked to have her back in the squad," said Powell. "But it perhaps means there’ll be another opportunity for Lindsay Johnson, who did well on her debut.
"She and Eni Aluko both showed their international potential in their first senior starts, and I was also pleased with the way that Alex Scott and Jo Potter performed when they came on for their debuts as substitutes.
"I’m hard to please so I can’t say I’m totally satisfied with the overall performance, but it was a great improvement on the display against Russia and it’s certainly put our preparations for Euro 2005 back on the right track."