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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan at Wembley Stadium

Beth of fresh air as Mead hits hat-trick and England notches a goal to hammer Northern Ireland 4-0



By Paul Lagan at Wembley Stadium

World Cup Qualifier Group D

England 4 v N Ireland 0

Beth Mead snatched a 14-minute hat-trick to keep the Lionesses top of their World Cup qualifying group as defiant Northern Ireland finally buckled under the incessant attacking pressure at Wembley Stadium this afternoon.

Chelsea’s Beth England was the other scorer as the home side finally broke the dogged resistance to run out 4-0 winners in front of 23,25 spectators at Wembley Stadium.

Mead, a 64th minute substitute, along with England, broke the hearts of the vocal Irish support midway through the second half with the score at 0-0.

The Arsenal star was on the pitch less that 50 seconds before she notched up number one with a spectacular overhead volley.

A right-footed rasper and a cool finish gave her the match ball.

From the first whistle to the last and with just a couple of exceptions, notably in the second half, England dominated possession of the ball, had the overwhelming majority of the chances and should have run up a cricket score in this World Cup qualifier.

Manchester City’s winner Lauren Hemp’s run and blaster bounced off the crossbar but not over the line on 18 minutes as the home side looked to finish off the moves that would single the opening of the goal fest.

And when Ellen White raced clear on goal, it seemed the outcome would be a net-buster. But her shot was straight at Jacqueline Burns, and the goalie parried the ball away for a corner.

Leah Williamson then skied a good chance on 26 minutes as an element of frustration started to creep into the Lionesses game.

Rachel Daly was next to try to break the deadlock, but Burns was again in the right place to block the ball on 27 minutes.

Williamson again, missed with a glancing header from a Hemp left byline cross on 30 minutes as the Northern Irish looked more than comfortable holding off the incessant attacks.

The woodwork came to the visitors’ aid again when Alex Greenwood smashed the crossbar from 35 yards on 33 minutes.

A quick counter attack almost saw Caragh Hamilton snatch an incredible lead on 48 minutes, but she was thwarted at the far post by Chelsea’s Millie Bright who just got her toe to the ball to deflect it away from the forward’s path.

Burns then kicked the ball away from Hemps’ left-footed drive on 63 minutes as the Lionesses continued to pile on the pressure

England boss Sabrina Wiegman decided more power was required to force their way through and on came Beth England and Beth Mead a minute later - Nikita Parris and Daly made way.

And the result was instant - Mead’s first touch was a wonderful scooping half-volley that gave Burns no chance.

There was an element of good fortune on 72 minutes when a Hemp byline cross dipped over Burns and in the right place was England, on the goal-line to stab home.

What wasn't in doubt was the third goal on 72 minutes, and Arsenal’s Mead powered home a wonderful volley that crashed past Burns and her near post to give a more respectable reflection of the game.

Mead got her 14-minute hat-trick goal when England was closed down by Burns and the ball fell invitingly to Mead, who cooly slotted home with 12minutes left on the clock.

It could have been more, and it should have been.


Teams: England: Earps, Day, Stokes, Williamson, Bright, Greenwood, Parris, Kirby, White, Toone, Hemp

Subs: Maciver, Hampton, Charles, Walsh, Stanway, Wubben-Mooy, Mead, Staniforth, England, Scott, Russo, Carter


N Ireland: Burns, McKenna, Vance, McFadden, Nelson, McCarron, Callaghan, Furness, Burrows, Wade, Hamilton

Subs: Flaherty, Harvey Clifford, McLaren, McGuinness, Caldwell, Rafferty, McDaniel, Wilson, Andrews, Beattie, WaitlingA`

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