- goal scored by T. Szewieczková
- goal scored by B. England
- goal scored by B. Mead
- goal scored by L. Williamson
- goal scored by T. Szewieczková
goal scored by
- B. England goal scored by
- B. Mead goal scored by
- L. Williamson
Phil Neville thanked his players for their efforts over the last 12 months – and urged them to hit the ground running at the SheBelieves Cup at the beginning of 2020.
England finished the year with a 3-2 win in Czech Republic on Tuesday night, their 20th match of a hectic 2019.
They lifted the SheBelieves Cup for the first time in USA before finishing fourth at the World Cup in France.
The Lionesses endured a sticky patch after the tournament, picking up just one win in seven, but Neville reflected positively on the year as a whole.
He said: “The players have put an unbelievable effort in in the last 12 months.
“We know the last three months haven't been good enough but we shouldn't take anything away from the last 12 months, in terms of where we've taken women's football.
“Now the hard work starts for after Christmas and the SheBelieves [Cup] and getting back to the level they and I know we can achieve.
“I'm looking forward now to the hard work and getting back to the level I know we can [reach].”
Thereza Szewieczková put Czech Republic ahead early on before goals by Beth England and Beth Mead put Neville’s side in front.
Szewieczková equalised from range but Leah Williamson nabbed the winner with just four minutes remaining.
Neville added: “We got the win, that's what I demanded. We should be beating Czech Republic by more than 3-2. We dominated the second half but we were careless in possession and with the final ball or cross.
“We wanted to finish [the year] on some kind of win. It's important to win games of football. When I came into the job I said winning was the most important thing and I still believe that.”
Leah leaves it late
England Women ended a hectic 2019 with a 3-2 victory in Czech Republic.
Thereza Szewieczková put the hosts ahead on 15 minutes before quickfire goals by Beth England and Beth Mead put Phil Neville’s side in front.
Szewieczková restored parity just before the half-hour mark with a pearler from range.
But Leah Williamson nabbed the winner with just four minutes remaining with her first senior team goal.
It was the Lionesses’ 20th match of an extremely busy year which took in a fourth-place finish at the World Cup in France and a victorious SheBelieves Cup campaign in USA, not to mention the 2-1 defeat by Germany on Saturday which was played in front of a record crowd of 77,768 at Wembley Stadium.
And Neville made five changes from that defeat at the weekend.
Carly Telford replaced Mary Earps in goal, Millie Bright came in for the rested Steph Houghton and England took the No9 jersey from Ellen White, who has only recently returned from injury.
Meanwhile Lucy Staniforth was in for Jordan Nobbs and Demi Stokes replaced Alex Greenwood at left back.
And if England thought they would be able to ease down at the end of a manic year, four goals in the opening 27 minutes made them think again.
Szewieczková had already hit a header over the top, when unmarked from close range, but she made amends on the quarter-hour mark by finishing coolly after being found by Katerina Svitkova’s tidy through ball.
The visitors’ reply was instant.
England, who had already had a goal disallowed for offside, levelled on 17 minutes when she converted Nikita Parris’s cut back from the by-line.
And Mead nudged the Lionesses ahead just moments later. The Arsenal forward was found in space inside the Czech Republic box by Staniforth. She took a touch and then whipped a clinical shot into the far corner.
But the hosts rallied as Szewieczková levelled matters once more with a thumping drive from 20 yards out.
The beginning of the second half was far less frantic with Staniforth’s off-target 25-yarder the only real chance of note until Neville’s side had another goal ruled out just after the hour mark.
Mead thought she had headed her country into a 3-2 lead but referee Ewa Augustyn chalked the goal off for a foul by Jill Scott in the build-up.
Bright, who has yet to open her England account, clipped the bar with a close-range effort in the first half and she tried her luck after the break, too.
The centre back picked up a loose ball 30 yards from goal, strolled forward and smashed a left-foot piledriver goalwards – but Barbora Votíková was equal to it.
And so it took Williamson’s maiden senior team goal to clinch the win for England as her deflected strike from the edge of the box deceived Votíková, who could have done better in her attempt to parry the drive.
But it ensured Neville’s charges ended 2019 on a winning note.
The Lionesses won’t be in action again until they begin the defence of their SheBelieves Cup crown early next year.
England (4-2-3-1): 1 Carly Telford (Chelsea); 2 Lucy Bronze (capt; Lyon), 6 Millie Bright (Chelsea), 6 Leah Williamson (Arsenal), 3 Demi Stokes (Manchester City); 4 Keira Walsh (Manchester City), 8 Jill Scott (Manchester City); 7 Nikita Parris (Lyon), 10 Lucy Staniforth (Birmingham City), 11 Beth Mead (Arsenal); 9 Beth England (Chelsea).
Substitutes: 18 Lauren Hemp (Manchester City) for Parris 64, 12 Rachel Daly (Houston Dash) for England 77, 14 Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal) for Staniforth 77.
Substitutes not used: 13 Mary Earps (Manchester United), 15 Abbie McManus (Manchester United), 16 Gemma Bonner (Manchester City), 17 Georgia Stanway (Manchester City), 21 Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City).
Goals: England 17, Mead 20, Williamson 86
Bookings: Nobbs 84
Head coach: Phil Neville
Referee: Ewa Augustyn