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Thursday, 28 September, 2000, 22:35 GMT 23:35 UK
Banks on target for England
Karen Burke
Karen Burke was also on the score sheet against Finland
Women's friendly international:
England 2-1 Finland

Arsenal's Angela Banks hit her first international goal to give England victory in their final friendly before taking on the Ukraine in a two-leg Euro 2001 play-off.

With 11 Arsenal goals already to her name, Banks is comfortably the Women's Premier League's leading scorer.

After bagging a hat-trick in her team's 7-0 Premier League Cup hammering of Sunderland on Sunday, the 24 year old striker - making only her second international start - hit a 37th minute winner.

England started poorly, with Charlton goalkeeper Pauline Cope dropping a fourth-minute cross from Anna Virolainen, leaving striker Heidi Kackur with to shoot into an empty net from six yards.

Nervous

Several other awkward moments followed as the England defence looked decidedly nervous.

But those nerves were calmed in the 15th minute, when Charlton's Tara Proctor crossed from the left for Doncaster Belles' winger Karen Burke to drill home a brilliantly struck first-time volley.

From that point England took control, though Cope was lucky to palm a 23rd minute shot by Sani Ylitalo onto the woodwork after misjudging the flight of the ball.

Banks and her Arsenal strike partner Marieanne Spacey, the latter making her 85th England appearance, both squandered good chances before Banks edged England in front.

Spacey headed on Tranmere winger Sue Smith's 37th minute corner and, when Proctor failed to force a close range shot over the line, Banks pounced to poke the ball into the net.

Spacey missed a fine 55th minute opportunity to increase the lead, shooting straight at substitute goalkeeper Sati Poltonen from a Banks cross. Then Banks shot wildly over the bar after Spacey had opened up the Finnish defence in the 66th minute.

In-form

The in-form Arsenal striker had to settle for just the one goal, but she was nevertheless delighted to open her England account.


It wasn't a perfect performance, but it's given us a good boost ahead of the games against the Ukraine.
  Hope Powell
"It was great for me to get that goal," she said. "I have started just the one game before, but I've had a few games as substitute so I needed to get a goal under my belt.

"The past couple of months have been great for me with Arsenal, and hopefully I can carry on scoring for England."

Coach Hope Powell was pleased with her team's performance as she looked ahead to October's first leg of the play-off tie against the Ukraine.

She said: "The girls realised how important this game was in the build up to the play-offs, and they were a bit anxious at the start of the game.

"But we turned it around and I felt the players did really well. It wasn't a perfect performance, but it's given us a good boost ahead of the games against the Ukraine."

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See also:

28 Sep 00 |  Football
Golden girl Mellgren sinks USA
26 Sep 00 |  Football
England's women eye Euro target
24 Sep 00 |  Football
Arsenal cruise past Sunderland
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