England 2 v Denmark 0
Winning is a great habit to get into, win while not playing well and it’s almost a recipe for success.
That at least, must be what England boss Phil Neville must be thinking after watching his charges beat Denmark 2-0 at the Banks’s Stadium, Walsall this afternoon in the penultimate World Cup warm-up match on English soil.
A late first half strike from Nikita Parris and a bullet header from Jill Scott in the second were enough to see of a Danish side that lacked the quality to get the ball enough times to danger woman Pernille Harder to pose a serious goal threat to England.
But make no mistake, England were poor.
For long periods of ther game, the Danes were master of the ball, comfortable in possession and knew how to get the ball to each other relatively quickly and accurately.
England relied on counter-attacks - it worked but just. And against better side later next month - it might not be enough.
A number of players failed the audition to make the opening World Cup match - a clash with Scotland on June 9 - others performed as they should.
Next weekend’s match against New Zealand at Brighton’s Amex Arena will be the final change to impress the England boss.
The visitors settled the quicker of the two, forcing early errors from Millie Bright but it was Ellen White who could have snatched an army lead after Danish left back Janni Anthony fumbled a back pass. But goalkeeper Kathrine Abel recanted quickest and snaffled the loose ball before the striker could pounce.
A speculative long-range shot by Jill Scott on eight minutes failed tom trouble the stopper.
England were cut open on the left on 11 minutes. Sane Troelsgaard saw her low right-footer from the edge of the England area, deflected away for yet another corner as the Danes piled on the pressure.
Bright had half a chance on 14 minutes but from a Beth Mead free-kick show could only put the ball over the Denmark crossbar.
But the Lionesses should have scored three minutes later. Straight from an opposition corner, Bright fed Scott, who galloped down the middle of the pitch. She produced a wonderful bisecting through ball to on-running White. The forward outpaced tracking Rikki Sevecke, but her right-footed effort inched wide of Abel’s left upright.
A Georgie Stanway run and shot took a dereliction for England’s fist corner on 21 minutes
Scott nipped in behind the Danish defence on 25 minutes, latching onto a clever ball by Stanway, but she could only scoop the ball over Abel but also over the goal too.
Nicotine Sorensen forced then firstvral save out of goalkeeper Karen Bardsley with seven minutes left bog the half.
Emma Snerle was carried off the pitch in tears following a robust challenge from England’s Rachel Daly - Millie Geji repolaced her.
Signe Bruyne though she had got through Bardsley’s defence on 43 minutes, but referee Desire Grundbacher adjudged she had handled then ball. She screamed in vain that the ball came off her shoulder.
On the stroke off half-time, the Lionesses took the lead. A Mead free-kick was cleared into the loathing of the now ex-Manchester City striker, who cooly collected the ball and stroked home a low, right-footer that proved decisive as it arrowed past the despairing dive of Abel and then ball zipped into bottom right hand counter of her net.
om super striker Penille Harderv There’s were no changes by either side at half time.
The game as almost a report of the fist half opening exchanges, Denmark on top, but lacking any clinical finisher, with England making basic errors.
But as in the first, on the break the Lionesses scored. This time it was Jill Scott who was on hand to head powerfully home on 60 minutes.
Stanway was then replaced by Chelsea’s Fran Kirby with Parris coming off for Kirby’s team mate Karen Carney.
Harder has a great chance to halve the deficit on 68 minutes but here free kick from the edge of the England penalty area was millimetres wide.
Teams: England, Bardsley, Bright, Parris, Scott, Stokes, Williamson, Moore, Daly, White, Stanway, Mead
Subs: Earps, Bronze, Greenwood, Walsh, Houghton, Taylor, Kirby, McManus, Carney, Staniforth
Denmark: Abel, Snerle, Anthony, Sevecke, Troelsgaard, Harder, Junge, Sorensen, Ballisager, Braun, Svava
Subs, Larsen, Christiansen, Madsen, Thogersen, Taylor, Holmgarrd, Geri, Karlsen, Hashemite
Referee; Desire Grundbacher