Lions down Wales in Euros
Three second-half goals gave England a 3-0 win over Wales in UEFA Women's U19 Euros
Second-half goals from Mel Lawley, Nikita Parris and Beth Mead gave England a 3-0 win over Wales in their second group game at this year’s UEFA European Women’s U19 Championship Finals.
Lawley, returning from a one-game suspension, opened the scoring in the 63rd minute with a low, angled drive from the edge of the area.
Parris recovered from missing a penalty to put England 2-0 up with a memorable, long-range strike and Mead confirmed the win in the final minute, prodding home from close range.
The identity of the three scorers will satisfy Head Coach Mo Marley, as all three were brought in to the starting line-up following Monday’s group opener, a 0-0 draw with France.
And, perhaps buoyed by their dogged performance in that group opener, England began the brighter of the two sides, with Lawley to the fore.
In the second minute the three new faces created the first chance of the game. Lawley broke up a Welsh attack on the left wing and set the visitors on a counter-attack. She found Parris who burst forward from the centre circle before feeding Mead, but the Sunderland forward fired an angled shot narrowly wide of the near post.
Then only a hoard of Welsh defenders prevented the ball from crossing the line when a Lawley corner caused a frantic goalmouth scramble.
The hosts’ best chances in the opening period came via a weak Hannah Keryakoplis header and anover hit Amy Thrupp cross, although they did temporarily increase the pressure midway through the first half.
England continued to look for openings in and around the Welsh box at every opportunity but were regularly unable to make their final ball count.
It was a slower start to the second half with Thrupp’s long-range effort being the only action of note in the opening 15 minutes.
The Three Lions sprung to life just after the hour mark. First, Parris tested Alice Evans with a smart shot on the turn from 18 yards out, forcing an equally good save from the Wales goalkeeper.
But there was little she could do just seconds later when Lawley fired a well-placed, angled drive beyond her dive from just outside the left-hand side of the box to give England a largely deserved lead.
Parris then fired beyond the angle of post and bar and Paige Williams rifled a low, left-footed effort just wide as Marley’s side began to reassert their supremacy.
They had a chance to seal the win with 12 minutes remaining, when Alys Hinchcliffe conceded a penalty by bringing down Parris inside the box, but the Everton youngster could only smash the ball against the crossbar.
However, she made amends in style five minutes later, carrying the ball from the centre circle before thumping a magnificent drive beyond the helpless Evans from 30 yards out.
And Mead put the game beyond doubt in the final minute by prodding the ball home from a matter of yards.
With four points from their opening two games, England have given themselves every chance of making it to next week’s semi-final, and a place at next year’s U20 World Cup. Their final group game is against Denmark on Sunday.