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Lionesses hope Dean Court will be first step on road to Canada
DEAN COURT provided the perfect setting for England women to kick-start their road to Canada as they completed a 6-0 demolition of Belarus in their first World Cup qualifier yesterday.
Attacking midfielder Karen Carney lit up Goldsands Stadium with a dazzling first-half hat-trick to secure all three points for the Lionesses, who top group six after their opening game.
“We scored some really good goals and created a lot of chances,” said head coach Brent Hills, who is currently in charge on a temporary basis.
“An early goal settled nerves, leading to more composure and it was a good day for us. Karen did very well, she scored a hat-trick but she couldn’t have done it if the others had not been there to pass it to her. It’s a team game and I really do believe in that, more than anything else.”
Carney opened the scoring with just three minutes gone and netted two more before the interval, including a fierce strike from 25-yards that found the top corner of Belarusian goalkeeper Volha Savastsyan’s net.
Striker Ellen White also rounded off a slick England passing move as the home side went in four goals to the good at the break.
As the Dean Court crowd looked on during the second period, the best view in the house went to England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis, who stood by as Belarus rarely threatened to get out of their own half.
Natasha Dowie, on her recall to the squad, added her name to the scoresheet four minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute. She nodded home the rebound after her first effort had come back off the underside of the crossbar.
Dowie then turned provider to set up winger Eniola Aluko, who finished from close range to cap things off. On the back of the victory, Hills was also keen to make sure that any thoughts of his side’s nightmare European Championship campaign in Sweden were extinguished.
He added: “Football is like that, sometimes you do great and sometimes you don’t. It’s how you come back when you don't do well that's important.”
The interim boss dismissed the idea that the win could get him the job permanently, but was extremely impressed by the local facilities and the atmosphere created by the home fans.
He told the Daily Echo: “The pitch was excellent and the stadium is excellent. It was tremendous for the players to play in front of almost 7,000 people.
“We have been made extremely welcome by Christchurch Football Club. We’ve trained there all week and they have been fantastic.”
England will now move on to face Turkey at Portsmouth’s Fratton Park on Thursday.
England: Brown-Finnis, A Scott, Bronze, Williams (Moore 72), Bradley, Stoney, Aluko, Nobbs, White, Carney (J Scott 63), Duggan (Dowie 56). Unused subs: Asante, Bonner, Houghton, Chamberlain (g/k).
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