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A late goal from Claire Rafferty saw England Under-23 come from behind to beat Germany 2-1 at Holmes Park in Whetstone.
With six minutes left, the left back latched on to a ball from Brooke Chaplen and bravely prodded the ball past German 'keeper Alisa Vetterlein to give Brent Hills' side a deserved victory over a strong Germany outfit.
Chances were at a premium for both sides, but they produced a competitive game in front of a sizeable crowd at Holmes Park, thanks to some excellent local marketing by the Leicestershire & Rutland FA. England were the better side in the first half and might have taken the lead on 18 minutes when Ashlee Hincks dug out a cross from the right, but Vetterlein denied Natasha Dowie's ten yard half volley at the near post.
After a confident opening period, the hosts found themselves a goal behind on 21 minutes. Central midfielder Nadine Kessler pulled the ball back from the right hand goal line for an unmarked Mirlach to turn home from 12 yards.
England's two wide players, Demi Stokes on the left and Hincks on the right, were bright and direct when appropriate and the former almost replied immediately with an angled drive from just just outside the box but Vetterlein saved well again. Generally confident in possession, England continued to push for the equaliser. Dowie, foraging up front on her own, misdirected a cross which just dropped over the bar and Hinnigan tried her luck from distance when spotting the keeper off her line but these two Everton players were the key protagonists in levelling the scores.
Dowie was tripped 25 yards from goal and Hinnigan bent a sweet right footed free kick over the wall and into the right hand corner.
Keeping his pre-match promise of giving as many players as possible a run out, Hills made four changes at the break, with Marie Hourihan, Lucy Bronze, Isobel Christiansen and Gemma Bonner replacing Carly Telford, Kerys Harrop, Demi Stokes and Fern Whelan respectively. England began the second half as they had ended the first and had two presentable chances to take the lead.
First, on 53 minutes, Dowie fired straight at Vetterlein when she perhaps should have done better. Five minutes later, a driving run from Hincks - now on the left - allowed her to send a cross towards Precious Hamilton, on for the injured Christiansen, but she miskicked her shot and Dowie could only help it over the bar.
That was the last real chance of note before Rafferty hit the winner late on to give England a very notable result.
England Under-23: Carly Telford (sub Marie Hourihan 45mins), Chelsea Weston (sub Gilly Flaherty 59mins), Claire Rafferty, Dani Buet, Fern Whelan (sub Gemma Bonner 45mins), Kerys Harrop (sub Lucy Bronze 45mins), Ashlee Hincks, Michelle Hinnigan, Natasha Dowie (sub Toni Duggan 59mins), Brooke Chaplen, Demi Stokes (sub Isobel Christiansen 45mins) (sub Precious Hamilton 50mins).
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