Lions ease past Malta at Bloomfield Road
Sunday, 25 October, 2009
England score eight without reply in opening World Cup Qualifier.
Nicholas Veevers at Bloomfield Road.
England Women got their World Cup qualifying campaign off to a good start on Sunday evening with an 8-0 rout over Malta in Blackpool.
A Fara Williams hat-trick, a brace for Jess Clarke and strikes from Faye White, Emily Westwood and Rachel Unitt were enough to secure the points on a blustery evening on the Lancashire coast.
It was a game dominated from start to finish by the hosts and it was perhaps no surprise to see such a scoreline given that Malta came into the game on the back of a 13-0 reverse against Spain.
After kicking the game off, England didn't have to wait long for their opener and it arrived after seven minutes. Williams was crudely fouled on the right and when Sue Smith's free-kick hit the post, captain White was quickly on the spot to tap home from close range.
Williams then came close to getting in on the act when she raced onto a long ball and rounded Sharon Costantino, only for the angle to be a little too tight and her shot went into the side netting.
Costantino then made the first of two good saves to turn Lianne Sanderson's powerful shot away and then to deny Clarke after she connected with Smith's centre.
Williams made it 2-0 in the 20th minute though, when Smith and Sanderson combined on the left with the latter's cross picking out the midfielder to hook home with her left foot.
Malta had already started trying to run down the clock in a bid to keep the scoreline down, but England found another goal ten minutes before the break, when Dan Buet's volley from the edge of the are looped into the box nicely for Clarke who managed to turn a shot past Costantino.
Three minutes later and it was four, with Clarke turning provider by crossing from the right for Williams who gleefully collected her second of the game to give England a commanding lead at half time.
Just over ten minutes after the restart and Malta were reduced to ten players when defender Natasha Pace picked up two bookings in the space of three minutes, the second of which for bringing a Williams dash forward to an abrupt end.
England continued to dominate proceedings and substitute Jody Handley was inches away from adding a fifth when she hit a rasping shot from just inside the area after some good work by Smith on the left.
Williams got her hat-trick after 65 minutes to make it six, when she leapt highest in the box to head Smith's pacy cross from the right past Costantino and into the bottom corner.
The Everton ace then received a deserved standing ovation from the crowd as she was replaced by Emily Westwood just moments later.
The onslaught continued and Clarke grabbed her second of the match in the 75th minute when Malta failed to clear Smith's corner. Clarke's first header came back off the post but she was sprightly enough to snap up the rebound and tuck it away past a posse of defenders on the line.
It was left to Westwood to score the goal of the game though, as she took aim from 25 yards and fired into the top corner with her left foot after 77 minutes.
The scoring was complete in the 88th minute, when Westwood, Alex Scott and Buet linked well down the right before Scott's shot was parried by Costantino. The ball fell at the feet of Rachel Unitt and she made no mistake of slotting into an empty net to make it 8-0.
England are next in action against Turkey in their next qualifier in November.
1 Karen Bardsley, 2 Alex Scott, 3 Rachel Unitt, 4 Dani Buet, 5 Faye White (C) (15 Lindsay Johnson, 59), 6 Laura Bassett, 7 Jess Clarke, 8 Jill Scott, 9 Lianne Sanderson (18 Jody Handley, 53) 10 Fara Williams (17 Emily Westwood, 68), 11 Sue Smith
Substitutes not used: 12. Katie Chapman, 13 Rachel Brown, 14 Casey Stoney, 16 Eniola Aluko
1 Sharon Costantino, 4 Natasha Pace, 5 Rebecca Dagostino (C), 6 Dorianne Theuma, 7 Ylenia Carabott, 8 Rachel Cushieri, 9 Rebecca Chircop (11 Kathleen Saliba, 64) 10 Catherine Camilleri (2 Marisa Deguara, 51)13 Mandy Debono (3 Chantal Marie French, 85), 14 Kimberly Parnis, 16 Charlene Zammit
Substitutes not used: Michelle Nicole Zahra, 15 Corissa Vella White, 17 Maria Azzopardi, 18 Emma Xuerreb.
Bookings: Rebecca Chircop 18, Ylenia Carabott 30, Natasha Pace 55 and 57