Dannii Bird nets winner against Norway to seal impressive win for U23s.
England U23 1-0 Norway
Four Nation Tournament
2pm (GMT), Wednesday 24 February
La Manga, Spain
A really confident performance from England, where they dominated the game more than the final score shows, saw Brent Hills' team pick up an impressive victory against Norway on Wednesday afternoon.
In the early stages, both teams were trying to take control but to no avail despite England showing some good early play and working hard.
The first chance fell to Ellen White on 16 minutes, after a pass from Natasha Dowie. It was a soft shot, but it showed that White had the beating of the back line.
Midway through the first half, England were looking very assured and using their posession well to get wide and fire some decent crosses into the box. They were, however, unable to get on the end of any of them.
By the half hour mark, Norway still hadn't created anything dangerous, as long ball after long ball was cut out by Sophie Bradley and Fern Whelan.
England came close again following some good forward play which gave Dowie the chance for a shot, but from outside of the area, she drove wide.
Dowie was given another chance following a great ball down the left from Claire Rafferty. Given time, she cut inside and blasted the ball across the face of goal and just wide of the post.
With five minutes to go in the first half, a tremendous string of passes, starting in defence, eventually sent Brooke Chaplen clear in the box, but she fired over the bar after a really good move which had carved Norway open.
Into the second half, England picked up where they left off and their work ethic was rewarded when a mistake from Norway's defence on 48 minutes, left Dannii Bird to take the ball on and cooly slot home into the bottom right corner.
England were looking comfortable with their lead and continued to make chances. Bird went clear once again, but her shot ths time was straight at the 'keeper.
England did start to lose their way a little midway through the second but the introduction of Rachel Williams up front gave the team a little added spark. She found herself some space for a long range shot, which powered just inches over the bar.
The last real action of the game saw White through on goal, but unfortunately she shot too close to the keeper, who made an easy save.
However, with this win, England are still in contention to win the competition ahead of their next game against USA on Friday.England:
1 Carly Telford, 2 Chelsea Weston (15 Steph Houghton, 51), 3 Claire Rafferty, 4 Michelle Hinnigan (12 Remi Allen, 79), 5 Fern Whelan (c), 6 Sophie Bradley (14 Kerys Harrop, 51), 7 Ellen White, 8 Jade Moore, 9 Natasha Dowie, 10 Brooke Chaplen (18 Rachel Williams, 68), 11 Dannii Bird (16 Sarah Kempson, 60)Substitutes not used:
13 Ashley Baker, 17 Mel Sutcliffe.