England’s Women ended their last get together of the year with mixed results after a 3-0 win over Austria before falling to a 2-0 defeat in Rotherham at the hands of Sweden.
Phil Neville’s side travelled to Vienna with three new faces, Man City Women duo Georgia Stanway and Ellie Roebuck and Brisbane Roar loanee Chioma Ubogagu. Two of the three newcomers would also start the game alongside Mary Earps, Abbie McManus, Leah Williamson, Hannah Blundell, Gabby George, Lucy Staniforth, Karen Carney, Mel Lawley and captain for the night; Toni Duggan.
Steph Houghton was not available as Neville wanted the City defender to receive her 100th cap at home in front of family.
Stanway and Ubogagu combined early on with the City player laying the ball off to Chi, her cross switching play to the right and aiming for Mel Lawley but the forward couldn’t quite get there. Sarah Zadrazil, possibly Austria’s star of the 2017 Euros, had a shot from range a minute later but her effort was watched over the bar by Earps.
Abbie McManus played provider for former Blue Toni Duggan, as she fed the ball into the Barcelona player who turned and shot an effort over Manuela Zinsberger’s goal from the edge of the box.
Georgia fouled Zadrazil and Austria were awarded a free kick, Nicole Billa stepping up with a shot on goal, Earps making a brilliant one handed save to tip Billa’s effort off the post and away. England broke with McManus getting the ball out to Georgia but the midfielder missed and Ubogagu picked it up instead.
Duggan and Karen Carney played some one touch passes before the ball was cleared wide to George on the left, the Everton defender cut back to Stanway, whose low shot went wide.
The Lionesses saw themselves go ahead in the 26th minutes thanks to a goal from debutant Chi as Carney sent the ball in looking for Toni, however the captain misjudged her effort and it ended up at the feet of Ubogagu who put her chance past Zinsberger.
Austria felt the need to equalize shortly after as both Laura Feiersinger and Billa had shots blocked by Hannah Blundell.
Two Lionesses corner’s before half time couldn’t add to the score line with Austria defending the first effort and Lucy Staniforth’s effort heading well over the bar. Earps then saved two crosses as offsides were called against Zadrazil and captain Nina Burger.
Neville’s side started the second half brightly, Mel Lawley sending in a cross which was met by Gabby George, the defenders header finding it’s way to Stanway; her shot saved. Lawley then won the visitors a corner from her cross, Staniforth getting the ball out to Georgia who sent one of her trademark shots goal wards; Zinsberger making the save.
Mary Earps and Lean Williamson did well to deny Austria as the Arsenal defender held off Sarah Zadrazil, the forward switching play to substitute Barbara Dunst whose shot was saved by the Wolfsburg keeper.
Mel Lawley then made way for Nikita Parris as England won a corner, Parris playing it short to Karen Carney as the Chelsea captains cross was cleared, Stanway picking it up and her shot deflecting off substitute Yvonne Weilharter; Austria nearly netting an own goal.
Parris then threw herself into the game with the forward watching her header bounce off the post, her cross getting cleared, Duggan sending it wide to Carney who sent the ball into sub Rachel Daly; the ball cleared away.
Nina Burger’s shot was deflected slightly by Gabby George but Mary Earps made the save before sending it back out to George, the defender making a great run down the left, her cross being met by Daly; the effort saved.
City duo Nikita Parris and Georgia Stanway linked up for the Lionesses second goal, Nikita running down the right with Georgia arriving in the box to meet her teammates cross and send it into the top right for her own debut goal.
Phil Neville made more changes with ten minutes to go, bringing on Everton forward Chloe Kelly for Toni Duggan and Ellie Roebuck for Mary Earps, handing the pair their senior debuts. Kelly got involved immediately, collecting Lucy Staniforth’s pass, her own shot blocked by Manuela Zinsberger before Rachel Daly’s neat little hack heel found its way into the back of the net.
The Everton player could have had a debut goal herself when she ran down the left wing, cutting inside only go have her shot saved by the Bayern keeper at her near post.
Parris and Stanway combined for one last effort however Georgia’s shot hit the side netting and so with four debutants and two debut goals, the Lionesses headed back to the UK ahead of their game against Sweden.
Captain Steph Houghton was back in the squad and received her 100th Lionesses cap from her family, starting alongside Parris and Jill Scott with former Blues Lucy Bronze and Izzy Christiansen also included alongside Carly Telford, Alex Greenwood, Millie Bright, Daly, Jordan Nobbs and Beth Mead.
Former City player Kosovare Asllani started for Sweden alongside WSL players Hedvig Lindahl, Jonna Andersson, Magdalena Eriksson and Jessica Samuelsson with former Blues Julia Spetsmark on the bench.
Sweden started well with a shot from Asllani going wide within the first minute, Bronze picking up the ball and making a run down the wing before sending a cross into Lyon teammate Christiansen, however the midfielders effort from range went over.
The visitors were awarded a free kick and a corner one after the other however England made a quick break with Izzy playing a great ball to Jordan Nobbs; the Sweden keeper Lindahl coming out to claim.
Twenty minutes in Sweden were awarded a corner and Elin Rubensson stepped up, her cross finding Montpellier’s Sofia Jakobsson with the number 10 striking the ball from range; firing it into the back of Telford’s net.
Two England free kicks, both taken by Christiansen, were met by Millie Bright and Jill Scott respectively with Bright’s effort going wide and Scott’s cleared away.
Sweden’s lead was extended when Rubensson’s corner was cleared by Bright, Asllani sending the ball back in for Anna Anvegard, the youngster collecting and turning to put another past Telford.
With the Lionesses 2-0 down, they were wanting to get back into the game, Jordan having a shot blocked and Daly putting a header wide.
Nikita Parris made a brilliant run down the left before sending the ball into Nobbs, Beth Mead getting her head to the ball but the effort was sent away. Lucy Bronze picked up the ball and sent it back in towards Mead whose effort went wide.
Bronze made an impact again, her ball into Daly was met by the forward but her header was cleared before Bronze made an excellent run; her cross evading everyone.
The Lionesses were awarded a free kick within the first five minutes of the second half and Christiansen stepped up, the ball finding Millie Bright but her header was cleared by Sweden. Rachel Daly’s efforts at pressurizing the keeper paid off as the ball fell to Nobbs, her effort saved, Daly’s run down the right and low cross meeting the same fate.
Penalty appeals were waved away by the referee after Toni was held in the box, Alex Greenwood sending a ball back into the area; the visitors clearing.
Lucy Bronze made a brilliant run down the right, taking matters into her own hands and taking on the Swedish defense alone, cutting back to teammate Christiansen; her effort heading over. Duggan then played a beautiful ball into the box, Lindahl punching away with Nikita Parris’s header going way from goal.
Greenwood stepped up to take a free kick which was cleared by substitute Fridolina Rolfö for a corner. The Man United captain also took the resulting set piece, Rolfö clearing only as far as Jill Scott, the City midfielder’s little flick on saved.
Christiansen gave way for Georgia Stanway and Daly for Mel Lawley with just under twenty minutes to go.
Scott was deemed to have fouled former teammate Kosovare Asllani in the centre circle and the referee awarded a free kick amid shouts from frustrated fans and appeals from the Lionesses.
Rolfö’s run into the box and shot resulted in a save from Carly Telford and the following corner, taken by Elin Rubensson came to nothing as Jill Scott gave way for Lucy Staniforth with seven minutes of normal time left.
Georgia Stanway played in Nikita Parris in possibly her first touch of the game, Parris taking a turn before shooting wide. Parris then turned provider for Duggan, running down the right wing and sending in a cross, Toni’s shot saved.
The Lionesses and Phil Neville end 2018 on a disappointing note with their next camp coming in January with games next up at the She Believes Cup.
FA WSL returns at the weekend with all ten teams except Man City Women in action. The Blues return on November 25th when they take on Yeovil in Dorchester; kick off 3pm.