England have to settle for draw despite a Beth Mead sizzler

Saturday 09 Aug 2014
Tanya Samarzich celebrates Mexico's equaliser
It was a case of the proverbial game of two halves in Moncton as England drew 1-1 with Mexico in their second Group C match at the FIFA Women’s U20 World Cup.

With 65 per cent of the ball, the Young Lions completely dominated the opening 45 minutes and deservedly went in ahead at the break, courtesy of Beth Mead’s 25-yard screamer.

But the North Americans rallied after the interval and picked up a point their second-half performance warranted, as Fabiola Ibarra capitalised on a loose goal kick from Lizzie Durack to equalise.

England 1-1 Mexico

FIFA Women's U20 World Cup
Group C
6pm BST, Saturday 9 August 2014
Moncton Stadium, Canada

After the opening-day draw with South Korea, England now have two points from two games in Group C, with one match, against Nigeria, remaining.

Mexico also have two points, and with South Korea and Nigeria set to face-off later today, Group C really hangs in the balance.

England, unchanged from the South Korea game, started the brighter of the two sides, enjoying the lion’s share of possession but with only Sherry McCue’s early effort and Leah Williamson’s off-target header to show for their early dominance.

Katie Zelem came close with a 25-yard chipped free-kick and Jess Sigsworth rifled over from range as Mo Marley’s side attempted to make their territorial advantage count.

Durack still had to be alert at the other end, though, to tip Ibarra’s chip over the bar just before the half-hour mark – and soon after the Young Lions had a deserved lead.

Having moved out to the left just moments earlier, Mead collected Hannah Blundell’s pass, cut inside onto her right foot, nutmegged Karla Nieto and found the far corner with a sublime effort which gave Mexican goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago no chance whatsoever.

Christopher Cuellar’s side came out of the blocks quickest after the restart and Carolina Jaramillo might have levelled matters after finding a yard of space inside the box. The striker underestimated how much time she had and scuffed her shot tamely into Durack’s grateful hands.

Claudia Lopez came even closer as the clock ticked towards the hour mark and almost capitalised on a mix up between Williamson and Durack, but Williamson’s centre back partner Aoife Mannion was on hand to clear off the line.

As Mexico continued to grow into the game, Durack was once again called into action to tip Tanya Samarzich’s speculative cross-shot over the bar.

Beth Mead fired England into the lead from 25 yards

Beth Mead fired England into the lead from 25 yards

England soon snapped themselves out of their second-half malaise and built a fantastic passing move from front to back which led to Nikita Parris getting clear inside the box. The Everton forward cut back on to her right foot but hit the base of the post with her low drive.

Unfortunately for Marley’s charges, that miss would prove costly as the Mexicans levelled moments later.

A Durack goal kick fell straight to Ibarra roughly 20 yards out and the midfielder sent the ball back with venom. It bounced down off the bar and out, and although Samarzich bundled it into the back of the net, it looked as if Ibarra’s initial shot had already crossed the line.

Martha Harris, whose goal earned the draw against Korea on Wednesday, came close late on with an angled drive and substitute Natasha Flint, on for Mel Lawley, blazed a free-kick over the bar as England just ran out of time.

They will head into next week’s final group game knowing everything is still to play for.

England (4-3-3): 1 Lizzie Durack (Everton); 2 Martha Harris (Liverpool), 5 Aoife Mannion (Birmingham City), 20 Leah Williamson (Arsenal), 3 Hannah Blundell (Chelsea); 10 Katie Zelem (Liverpool), 4 Sherry McCue (C; Aston Villa), 8 Jess Sigsworth (Doncaster Rovers Belles); 7 Nikita Parris (Everton), 9 Beth Mead (Sunderland), 11 Mel Lawley (Birmingham City)

Substitutes: 17 Natasha Flint (Manchester City) for Lawley (61), 19 Abbey-Leigh Stringer (Birmingham City) for Zelem (77), 14 Jade Bailey (Arsenal) for Sigsworth (88)

Substitutes not used: 6 Meaghan Sargeant (Birmingham City), 12 Paige Williams (Everton), 13 Megan Walsh (Everton), 15 Ellie Stewart (Liverpool), 16 Gabrielle George (Everton), 18 Jess Carter (Birmingham City), 21 Caitlin Leach (Aston Villa)

Goals: Mead (36)

Head Coach: Mo Marley

Mexico: 1 Cecilia Santiago (C), 2 Clarissa Robles, 3 Estefania Fuentes, 4 Paulina Solis, 5 Mariel Gutierrez, 6 Karla Nieto, 7 Tanya Samarzich, 10 Carolina Jaramillo, 11 Fabiola Ibarra, 16 Claudia Lopez, 17 Amanda Perez

Substitutes: 9 Luz Duarte for Perez (57), 14 Greta Espinoza for Lopez (70), 15 Mariana Cadena for Jaramillo (80)

Substitutes not used: 8 Nancy Antonio, 12 Emily Alvarado, 13 Rebeca Bernal, 14 Greta Espinoza, 18 Taylor Alvarado, 19 Jenny Chiu, 20 Jacqueline Rodriguez, 21 Gabriela Paz

Goals: Ibarra (71)

Bookings: Perez (44)

Head Coach: Christopher Cuellar

By Glenn Lavery Moncton Stadium, Canada