Brent Hills' England side beat Finland thanks to goals from Alex Scott and Gemma Davison.
England 2-0 Finland
20 July 2005
Brent Hills' England Women's U21s side got off to a winning start in the Nordic Cup in Sweden.
On a mild evening in Grams, England were thankful to two well-timed goals as they defeated Finland by two goals to nil.
England Seniors star Alex Scott, who impressed at Women's Euro 2005, moved into the U21s side and scored in injury time at the end of the first half.
A nice passing move from the back culminated in a through-ball splitting the Finnish defence, and Scott beat 'keeper Minna Meriluoto to the ball, to give England the half-time lead.
That goal was ample reward for England as they dominated an entertaining match with an experienced side which Finland couldn't live with.
Everton midfielder Kelly McDougall had the chance to double the lead on 80 minutes when England were awarded a penalty. McDougall calmly dispatched the penalty but, to the incredulity of the England bench, was asked to re-take the penalty.
The follow-up was well saved by Meriluoto but Brent Hills' side made sure they didn't regret the miss, as Arsenal's Gemma Davison sealed the victory in the 91st minute, after coming off the bench to make her U21 debut.
Speaking to TheFA.com, Brent said:
"I am very pleased with the result and we were the better team on the night, but we were made to battle for the win.
"Siobhan Chamberlain made a couple of very good saves early on and it took the girls twenty-five minutes to settle down, as we had a real mix of youth and experience in the side.
"The passing play then started to develop and after scoring the first goal, the football we played in the first twenty minutes of the second half was really impressive.
"The Finns then changed their system to try and get the equaliser which opened things up a bit, and although we created lots of chances, we couldn't seem to get the killer second goal.
"I'm pleased for Gemma that she scored the second goal as we were bringing her to the tournament primarily to gain experience of international football, whilst Casey Stoney lead the team by example."
Hills' side now take on Norway in Arvika on Friday knowing that a win will take them through to at least the Third Place Play-Off. Looking ahead to the Norway game, Brent said:
"Norway beat Sweden last night in the other group game, and we know that both of these teams will provide a very tough test for our players.
"The bulk of the Norwegian side played a behind closed-doors friendly against us at the beginning of May prior to the Senior international in Barnsley. Although we won that game, they look a very strong side and we'll be analysing their game from last night.
"I'm happy though with the way we've settled down, and the players can be confident going into the match with three points under their belts."
England U21 v Finland, Nordic Cup, 20 July 2005
England: Siobhan Chamberlain; Rachel Axon (Gemma Davison, 75), Casey Stoney (capt), Laura Bassett, Shelly Cox (Michelle Hickmott, 69), Anita Asante, Lynda Shepherd (Jessica Smith, 59), Kelly McDougall, Alex Scott, Ellen Maggs, Josanne Potter
Subs not used: Karen Bardsley, Georgie Adams, Joanne Traynor, Beth Bailey
Goals: Scott 45+1, Davison 90+1
Finland: Minna Meriluoto; Heidi Ahonen, Veera Vartiainen, Nelli Berg, Sanna Malaska (capt), Susanna Lehtinen (Taru Hakala, 63), Annica Sjolund (Hanna Saaranen, 63), Katri Nokso-Koivisto, Heidi Lindstrom (Daniela Tjeder, 63), Jannica Tjeder, Sanna Talonen (Annina Aman, 77)
Subs not used: Nora Vartia, Petra Hatinen, Paula Myllyoja