Ada Hegerberg header inflicts Lionesses' first defeat in eleven

Sunday 22 Jan 2017
Alex Scott in action against Norway in La Manga

England’s opening match of 2017 ended in defeat as Ada Hegerberg’s first-half header gave Norway a 1-0 win in La Manga.

The goalscorer was teed up by her sister Andrine’s free-kick, and the tall No14 directed the ball beyond Siobhan Chamberlain.

In a match of few clear-cut chances, it was to prove the difference and brought about England’s first defeat in 11 matches.

Norway 1-0 England
  • A Women's International
  • Sunday 22 January 2017
  • La Manga

Lionesses skipper Steph Houghton had two chances to salvage a draw in the final five minutes but both efforts were cleared off the line.

This was the first of two matches in the Spanish resort, with Olympic silver medallists Sweden next up on Tuesday, as head coach Mark Sampson begins his Euro 2017 preparations in earnest.

Norway began well, just as they did the last time these two sides met, in the knockout stages of the 2015 World Cup in Canada.

Lisa-Marie Utland forced Chamberlain to save well, down low to her left, in the opening five minutes and Ada Hegerberg struck a shot over the bar on the quarter-hour mark.

England’s first chance of the game came shortly after when Nikita Parris skewed a shot wide from 10 yards out.

But Martin Sjögren’s side took the lead midway through the first half when Birmingham City midfielder Andrine Hegerberg delivered a centrally-placed free-kick into the box which her sister Ada nodded into the far corner.

It might have got worse for England before half-time but Chamberlain came to the rescue with a fantastic one-handed save to deny Hegerberg another headed goal, this time from a corner.

The Lionesses could have been level at the break had Lucy Bronze, operating on the right side of a back three, not had her 12-yard shot deflected over for a corner.

There were chances at both ends in the opening moments of the second half.

Alex Scott crossed for Arsenal club mate Jodie Taylor shortly after the restart but the 30-year-old was unable to steer the ball goalwards.

And then Andrine Hegerberg called Chamberlain into action once again, aiming a free-kick into the top corner only for the Liverpool keeper to palm away.

New Birmingham recruit Ellen White replaced Taylor just after the hour mark for her first England appearance since June last year and had two appeals for a penalty waved away within minutes of her introduction. And then Chamberlain had to be on her guard when Ingrid Moe Wold overhit a cross from the right.

The keeper back-pedalled and tipped the ball onto the woodwork before Jade Moore cleared the loose ball.

England, whose players are still in pre-season with their FA WSL clubs, pressed forward in the final quarter and came close to equalising through their captain late on.

Houghton first poked a corner goalwards only for Nora Holstad Berge to acrobatically clear – and Kristine Minde then headed another effort off the line to deny Sampson's charges an eleventh match without defeat.

England (3-4-3): 1 Siobhan Chamberlain (Liverpool); 4 Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), 5 Steph Houghton (Manchester City), 6 Jo Potter (Notts County); 2 Alex Scott (Arsenal), 8 Jade Moore (Notts County), 10 Fara Williams (Arsenal), 3 Demi Stokes (Manchester City); 7 Nikita Parris (Manchester City), 9 Jodie Taylor (Arsenal), 11 Toni Duggan (Manchester City).

Substitutes: 12 Millie Bright (Chelsea) for Williams 62, 15 Ellen White (Birmingham City) for Taylor 62.

Substitutes not used: 13 Mary Earps (Reading), 14 Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), 16 Laura Bassett (Notts County), 17 Gemma Bonner (Liverpool), 18 Jill Scott (Manchester City), 21 Sophie Baggaley (Birmingham City).

Bookings: Duggan 66

Head coach: Mark Sampson

Norway: 12 Cecile Fiskerstrand, 2 Ingrid Moe Wold, 6 Maren Mjelde (C), 7 Elise Thorsnes, 8 Andrine Hegerberg, 11 Nora Holstad Berge, 14 Ada Hegerberg, 17 Kristine Minde, 19 Ingvild Isaksen, 21 Lisa-Marie Utland, 22 Anja Sonstevold.

Substitutes: 25 Karina Sævik for Ada Hegerberg 36, 4 Gunhild Herregarden for Sonstevold 72.

Substitutes not used: 1 Ingrid Hjelmseth, 5 Andrine Tomter, 15 Amalie Eikeland, 16 Tuva Hansen, 18 Vilde Boe Risa, 23 Josephine Ervik, 24 Nora Eide Lie.

Head coach: Martin Sjögren

Goals: Ada Hegerberg 26

Referee: Marta Huerta de Aza (SPA)

By Glenn Lavery in La Manga