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Women's Football World Cup News
England 2 (J.Scott 63, Clarke 81)
New Zealand 1 (Gregorius 18)
att: 19,110; at the Rudolf Harbig Stadion, Dresden
Super sub Jess Clarke fired a late winner as England turned around a first half deficit to beat New Zealand and increase their chances of progressing to the quarter finals.
However they had to do it the hard way as a poor first half display gave way to a much improved one after the break and a draw in the last match against Japan would be enough to see them qualify whilst New Zealand, who were unlucky to lose on the day, are eliminated.
Hope Powell made one change to the side which drew with Mexico in the opener, leaving out Karen Carney and starting with Ellen White, meaning that Eniola Aluko reverted to the wing.
England forced a number of early corners and had a chance as Ellen White dispossessed Rebecca Smith and made her way towards goal but Abby Erceg did well to react and avert the danger before the England striker could shoot. Fara Williams then tried her luck from 30 yards with a shot that flew straight at Jenny Bindon.
In the 18th minute, New Zealand took the lead with their first meaningful attack. Ali Riley's deflected pass was chased down by Amber Hearn who got past Faye White before cutting the ball across goal and Sarah Gregorius got between Casey Stoney and Rachel Unitt to score from close range.
Kelly Smith, who had been struggling since the early stages after twisting her ankle, was then felled by a dreadful challenge from behind by Katie Hoyle who was lucky to escape at least a yellow card.
Rachel Yankey produced a good effort which drifted just wide after cutting in from the right but England were struggling to make an impression going forward and also looked vulnerable at the back.
Anna Green drove a free kick straight at Karen Bardsley and a minute later, England had a huge let off as Stoney misjudged a Riley pass and Gregorius was left clean through on goal, however the striker hesitated fatally and Unitt did well to make a saving tackle and deny her the chance of a second goal.
The introduction of Carney at half time gave England fresh impetus and drive going forward during the second half. However they almost found themselves two behind as the speedy Gregorius again caused problems, her cross from the right finding Hearn whose header looped inches over and onto the roof of the net.
Smith shot over the bar after a corner had been half cleared but the goal England craved finally came just after the hour. Alex Scott found space on the right and sent over an excellent cross for Jill Scott who gave Bindon no chance with a powerful header into the corner of the net.
England visibly grew in confidence and a typical run and shot by Smith almost led to a second goal but her effort was deflected inches wide. Ellen White then went close with a header as they started to get on top.
New Zealand were still threatening at the other end though and they went close again as Riley charged down a Unitt clearance and her cross from the right picked out Rosie White in front of goal but the substitute, who had only come on moments earlier, was not quite able to divert her shot on target.
With nine minutes left, England went in front for the first time with a goal that earned much to persistence. Jill Scott sprung the offside trap to chase down a long ball and her cross was touched on by Carney for Ellen White whose shot was saved by Bindon.
Unitt returned the ball into the area where Carney did well to win an aerial challenge from Bindon, Jill Scott passed up the chance to shoot and instead coolly set up Clarke to lash her shot into the roof of the net from ten yards.
Williams had a chance to put the result beyond doubt as Smith slid a neat through ball into her path but the midfielder was denied by a good save from Bindon. This was to be the last opportunity of the game and England successfully ran down the clock to put themselves on the verge of a quarter final place.
England: Karen Bardsley, Alex Scott, Rachel Unitt, Jill Scott, Faye White (sub Sophie Bradley 85mins), Casey Stoney, Eniola Aluko (sub Karen Carney 45mins), Fara Williams, Ellen White, Kelly Smith, Rachel Yankey (sub Jess Clarke 65mins).
New Zealand: Jenny Bindon, Ria Percival (sub Rosie White 71mins), Anna Green, Katie Hoyle, Abby Erceg, Rebecca Smith, Ali Riley, Betsy Hassett, Amber Hearn, Sarah Gregorius (sub Hannah Wilkinson 90mins), Katie Bowen (sub Hayley Morwood 45mins).
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