England 0 V New Zealand 1
England face Scotland on June 9 in their first World Cup match and on the back of this poor showing against an average New Zealand side, they have to be worried about the outcome following a 1-0 defeat.
While the Lionesses dominated possession against the White Ferns, it was the visitors who struck the only goal of the game in front of 20,076 spectators at Brighton’s AMEX Stadium, and boss Phil Neville must have a team selection headache.
This was a chance to give Chelsea Fran Kirby must-needed minutes, she did not impress and must be worried about dropping out of contention to face the Scots.
The Blues Carley Telford played and when called upon, fluffed her lines allowing the visitors to score.
Chelsea skipper Karen Carney will have cemented her starting place, She came on as a substitute and was outstanding.
Chelsea’s fourth player in the squad Millie Bright, sporting a wrist cast will have been happy to gave sat this defeat out. She will partner Steph Houghton next week in the centre-back position.
England started the brighter and Jodie’s Taylor should have put them ahead on nine minutes when a defensive mix-up allowed the striker a clear run on goal. But she hesitated and then lost control of gather ball from six yards out, allowing goalkeeper Erin Nayler to block her scuffed effort and the ball was cleared.
Twice in quick succession the Lionesses should have scored - first another back pass allowed Toni Duggan a shot on goal. She was thwarted on that effort by Nayler who, seconds later parried away a cross, again from Duggan.
The White Ferns struggled to put together any serious possession play as the Lionesses pushed forward.
But some last-ditch defending, especially from Meikayla Moore kept England at bay.
The visitors fist effort on goal saw Betsy Hassett force a wonderful save from Chelsea’s Carly Telford seconds before the end of the first half. Telford tipped over the left-footed blaster from just inside the England penalty area.
There were no changes from either side at half-time.
But within four minutes of the restart Telford threw the Ferns a needless bone from which the grabbed the opening goal. She failed to hold a low drive from Katie Bowen and the ball fell invitingly to Sarah Gregorius to smashed the ball home from close range.
Lucy Staniforth tried a free-kick, two minutes later which zipped inches wide of Nayler’s goal as the home side piled on the pressure to equalise.
England boss Phil Neville decided he had to make a change and Chelsea skipper Karen Carney replaced Toni Duggan. Keira Walsh tried a shot from the edge of the Fern’s penalty area, but out was too weak an effort to trouble Nayler.
New Zealand boss Tom Sermanni replaced goal-scorer Gregorius for Hannah Wilkinson on 63 minutes.
Some wonderful interplay between Carnet and Kirby saw Carney produced a shot on goal that Nayler, once again Magee to block at her near post.
Neville opted then to bring on Jill Scott and Beth Mead for Lucy Staniforth and Nikita Paris on 67 minutes.
Brilliant wing play by Carney teed up Scott at the far post, but the Man City player couldn’t angle her header on goal.Ellen White entered the fray with 16 minutes left on the clock, Jodie Taylor made way for the striker.
England: Telford, Bronze, Greenwood, Walsh, Houghton, Parris, Taylor, Kirby, Duggan, McManus, Staniforth
Subs: Bardsley, Roebuck, Bright, Scott, Williamson White, Stanway, carney, Mead, Blundell
New Zealand: antler, Percival, Bott, Moore, Scott, Riley, Erceg, Gregorian, Hassett, White , Bowen
Subs Essen, Olla, Green, Kete, Longoria, Morton, Duncan, Wilkinson, Skelton, Satchell, Cleverley, Chance
Referee Monika Mularczyk ( ThPoland)