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England women continue momentum

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07 Apr 2013 19:17:19

England women continue momentum

Ellen White's last-gasp header proved decisive as England Women's first warm-up match ahead of Euro 2013 ended in a narrow 1-0 victory over Canada.

The Lionesses were meeting Canada for the second time in less than a month following their 1-0 win over the North Americans in the final of the Cyprus Cup, a victory secured by Rachel Yankey's superb strike from distance.

Yankey was again in the line-up to earn her 125th cap in an international career dating back to 1997, although she was resting on the bench when England made the breakthrough in the 92nd minute as Fara Williams' cross-cum-shot was nodded home by the lunging White. Yankey's outing meant she pulled level with Peter Shilton's all-time record for appearances in an England shirt.

"It's crazy that my name is bandied around with Peter Shilton, even though he was playing for the men's team," Yankey told Press Association Sport. "I used to watch him play when I was growing up so it's really a great feeling to have won the same number of caps. It's not something I thought I would ever achieve."

While the milestone was clearly an important one for Yankey, England boss Hope Powell surprisingly revealed she was unaware of the significance of the occasion.

"I didn't actually realise she'd reached that many," said Powell. "Statistics are not something I keep track of. But it's a great achievement and well deserved. As players get older, sometimes that hunger is greater and she performed well."

England and Canada are jointly ranked seventh in the world and have played out a number of tight contests in recent months, dating back to last summer when, as Team GB, Powell's side were beaten 1-0 in the quarter-finals of the London Olympics.

Powell's side failed to spark in a low-key opening 45 minutes at Rotherham's New York Stadium, however, although Canada were even less impressive. The visitors showed a flash of attacking threat in the 50th minute when Karen Bardsley saved a Christine Sinclair header following a corner.

England, shorn of injured record scorer Kelly Smith, seemed short of ideas going forward, and Steph Houghton's free-kick from all of 35 yards offered a rare sight of goal. Better followed within seconds however as a ball over the top sat up nicely for Toni Duggan but her dipping volley came down just the wrong side of the crossbar.

Yankey's afternoon ended in the 82nd minute when she was substituted to a warm reception, with Jess Clarke her replacement. The game looked to be petering out into a draw as stoppage time arrived, but England were far from finished and after the ball broke to Williams for a shot that appeared to be slewing wide, White stooped to secure the win.


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