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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 May 2007, 17:15 GMT 18:15 UK
England Women 4-0 N Ireland
By Tony Leighton

England Ladies coach Hope Powell
England took their time to get going before demolishing Northern Ireland
England had to wait until the second half for the goals that won the first of their Women's Euro 2009 qualifiers.

Hope Powell's team took 53 minutes to break the deadlock through Kelly Smith who scored from close range.

An Una Harkin own goal gave England a 2-0 and there was no way back for minnows Northern Ireland at Gillingham.

England's win was completed with goals from Katie Chapman and Lianne Sanderson infront of a disappointing crowd of less than 4,000 fans.

It was a frustrating first period for England against the Irish, who at 78th in the world rankings sit 66 places below England.

England could have been out of sight by half-time if their build-up play and finishing had been more incisive.

After striker Smith had gone close with two long-range efforts midfielder Fara Williams saw her 27th minute header brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Emma Higgins.

Striker Sanderson then fluffed a simple 34th minute chance, heading over the bar from just three yards.

And two minutes before the break Sanderson should again have done better, delaying a 12 yard shot and right back Kellie Leyland scrambling back to clear off the line.

The half-time introduction of substitute Karen Carney was key to England at last taking the lead.

The Arsenal winger's 48th minute cross led to a Rachel Unitt shot that was blocked on the line by Higgins.

And five minutes later another good delivery by Carney led to Kelly Smith bundling the ball over the line for the opener.

The 66th-minute second goal was fortuitous, Harkin turning a short Sanderson cross into her own net.

But there was no luck about midfielder Chapman's excellent 18 yard strike that brought the third goal following a 72nd minute Carney cross.

And Sanderson finally made amends for her earlier misses when she rounded Higgins to complete the scoring 14 minutes from time.


England (4-2-1-3): Brown (Everton); Houghton (Sunderland) (sub Carney (Arsenal) HT), Asante (Arsenal), Phillip (Arsenal), Unitt (Everton); Chapman (Arsenal), Williams (Everton); K. Smith (Arsenal) (sub White (Arsenal) 73); Scott (Arsenal), Sanderson (Arsenal) (sub Barr (Leeds United) 77), S. Smith (Leeds United).
Substitutes not used: Potter (Charlton Athletic), Telford (Sunderland), Exley (Doncaster Rovers Belles), Johnson (Everton).

Northern Ireland(4-1-4-1): Higgins (Glentoran Belfast United); Leyland (Northland Raiders), Nelson (Newtownabbey Strikers), Harkin (Drumahoe YMCA), Bailie (Glentoran Belfast United); Hutton (Newtownabbey Strikers); McKenna (Newtownabbey Strikers) (sub Gillespie (Glentoran Belfast United) 56), Turner (Glentoran Belfast United), Hall (Glentoran Belfast United) (sub Carson (Newtownabbey Strikers) 80), Corish (Newtownabbey Strikers); McFadden (Ballymena United).
Substitutes not used: Platt (Newtownabbey Strikers), McGovern (Fermanagh Mallards), Booth (Newtownabbey Strikers), McDowell (Newtown Abbey Strikers), Patterson (Newtownabbey Strikers),

Referee: Ms A. Ostervold (Norway).

Attendance: 3,944.



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