Euro hopes still alive
Toni Duggan's added-time strike rescues a draw against Russia in Linköping
by Glenn Lavery in Sweden
There was more late drama in England’s Euro 2013 campaign as Toni Duggan’s added-time equaliser kept alive hopes of reaching the last eight.
After Friday’s painful defeat to Spain, this time it was the Three Lions who breathed a huge sigh of relief as Duggan’s goal in the 93rd minute cancelled out Nelli Korovkina’s first-half header.
The result means England will probably need to beat France on Thursday in their final group game to have a chance of reaching the quarter finals. The top two nations in each of the three groups progress, along with the two best third-placed teams.
England were unchanged from Friday's match, but Casey Stoney did hand the armband to Alex Scott to mark the right-back’s 100th cap.
In a rather quiet opening to the game Ellen White fired over before Olga Petrova saw her header saved by Karen Bardsley.
But Jill Scott came within the frame of the goal of breaking the deadlock in the ninth minute when her angled drive was tipped onto the near post by Elvira Todua and away for a corner. Russia responded immediately with Korovkina pulling a 20-yard shot just wide of the target.
Hope Powell was forced into an early change when Rachel Yankey pulled up, seemingly with a hamstring injury. Karen Carney came on in her place and almost had an instant impact, delivering a corner to the far post which Steph Houghton could only head wide.
Alex Scott had a decent chance on her big day following a rapid England counter-attack, but, on her weaker left foot, she bent Eniola Aluko’s pull-back wide of the post.
But with the Three Lions largely controlling possession, the Russians took the lead against the run of play.
Elena Morozova sent in a wicked left-wing cross towards Elena Terekhova who was on the penalty spot. Her cushioned volley was going well wide until Korovkina stuck her neck out to divert the ball beyond Bardsley.
Houghton tried to get England back into it at the start of the second half but her firm, right-footed curler was watched all the way by Todua. The left-back’s Arsenal club-mate White then had a great chance to equalise when she was found by Carney’s deep cross, but the striker could only guide the ball wide from close range. She will know she could have done have done better.
Powell knew her side needed a goal and she made an attacking change just after the hour mark by bringing on Everton striker Duggan for Houghton and reverting to a back three of Alex Scott, Stoney and Laura Bassett.
England then survived Russian appeals for a penalty when Ekaterina Sochneva fell to the floor under Alex Scott’s challenge, but the German referee, Bibiana Steinhaus, wasn’t convinced.
And with 12 minutes remaining, the mercurial, but not fully fit, Kelly Smith was summoned from the bench with the task of rescuing at least a point for the Three Lions - and she played a huge part in the leveller.
It had appeared England's luck was out when Duggan hit the bar late on from just a matter of yards, but the two second-half substitutes ultimately changed the game as it was Smith's cross-cum-shot which Duggan, appearing in her first senior tournament, swept home confidently from inside the box to maintain her side's hopes of reaching the last eight.