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England Under-17 took a step closer to sealing a place in the World Cup quarter finals on Sunday, when they picked up a narrow 1-0 win against Nigeria in Wellington.
Following their opening victory against Brazil last week, Lois Fidler and her team knew that a victory against the Africans would most likely be enough to secure their passage to the next stage from Group D and they now know that a point against South Korea in their final game on Tuesday will be enough.
The Young Lionesses left it late too, as they had to wait unto the 79th minute before Jessica Holbrook broke the deadlock. It was a somewhat fortunate victory too, as Nigeria had the better of the possession but just could not make their territorial dominance count.
Nigeria controlled the early stages and almost edged ahead when England captain Jordan Nobbs headed against her own bar within ten minutes of the kick off. In the 11th minute, Ebere Orji's fine cross from the right saw Ngozi Okobi with a good chance to open the scoring but she just failed to capitalise.
It wasn't all Nigeria though, as at the other end, Rebecca Jane's attempted lob from outside the area was turned onto the bar by goalkeeper Marbel Egwuenu.
Nigeria continued to enjoy the better of the game though and Orji should have notched when clean through on goal, but took too long over her shot and the Nigerian frustration continued when Desire Oparanozie's close range header flew wide just before half time.
Nigeria continued to enjoy the better of the game in the second half, and twice in the early minutes Lauren Davey saved well from substitute Amarachi Okoronkwo.
England held strong though and eventually got their rewards when Lauren Bruton received the ball off Danielle Carter from a throw in and crossed to the edge of the area where Holbrook finished well with a right foot on the turn to give England a second victory.
England: Lauren Davey, Lucy Bronze (sub Rachel Daly 71mins), Naomi Chadwick, Jessica Holbrook, Jodie Jacobs, Gemma Bonner, Rebecca Jane (sub Rachel Pitman 67mins), Jordan Nobbs, Danielle Carter, Isobel Christiansen, Lauren Bruton (sub Lucy Staniforth 90mins). Subs not used: Amy Carr, Juliana Draycott, Stephanie Marsh, Jemma Rose, Sarah Wiltshire, Paige Eli, Kirsty Linnett.
Nigeria: Marbel Egwuenu, Doris Ewhubare, Martina Ohadugha, Gloria Ofoegbu, Desire Oparanozie (sub Valentine Ibe 86mins), Soo Adekwagh, Helen Ukaonu, Regina Macfancy, Ebere Orji (sub Amarachi Okoronkwo 40mins), Josephine Chukwunonye, Ngozi Okobi (sub Amenze Aighewi 50mins). Subs not used: Favour Okeke, Asebe Adamu, Nina Egeonu, Maria Nwoko, Eno Umoh, Nogzi Ebere, Prudent Ugoh.
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