England took on Wales in their second match of the 2013 World Cup campaign. These teams are old foes who faced each other in the final of the European Championship and the Home Internationals with England winning on both occasions. With both teams yet to record a win, this was always going to be a battle.
England started in similar fashion to their last game with Laura Merrifield taking the first possession and driving to goal. Merrifield would gain a free position shot which she passed off to Keely Watt in front of goal to finish and put England one up.
Team England were now in the driving seat and with a sustained period of attack allowed the team to score three more goals, including free position shots from Merrifield and Ruby Smith before Alex Bruce found Kirsten Lafferty with an over the post pass for Lafferty to fire home.
Although England had four goals on the board, Wales were slowly creeping back into the game and had the ball in their attacking end but could not break through England’s defence. It was down to a solo effort by Welsh starlet Iona Dryden who after dodging from the top of the fan shot low to get wales on the board (4-1).
The ball would go back and forth as each team would attack, break through but only to be thwarted by Cat Gaunt in goal for England and Erin Walters for Wales. The Welsh were now seeing more of the ball capitalised on some defensive mistakes from England and were awarded a free position, which Ros Lloyd-Rout scored from to put wales within two goals (4-2). With two minutes on the clock, frustration started building and Wales were shown a yellow card for a check to the head on Merrifield who finished her opportunity with a fizzing shot past Walters in goal. As the clock ran down, the England fans urged the players to shoot and Bruce had the chance with 8 seconds left but the shot was saved to leave England going into the halftime break 5-2 up.
Lafferty got England going in the second half with her trademark roll and side arm shot to widen the gap to four goals (6-2). Wales received their second yellow card of the game, but this was soon followed by England first, shown to Watt who was judged to propel the ball dangerously. Both teams would trade possession of the ball before Laura Warren rolled the crease to score past Keogh.
Team England had more opportunities to score with Rachel Kirchheimer hitting the crossbar and Lafferty being thwarted from close range by Walters. England did manage to score two further goals before Wales replied with just under eight minutes to go taking the score to 8-4 in favour of England.
The game finished with a flurry of yellow cards, Wales receiving two (Hawkins, Coombs-Roberts) while Sarah Taylor and Bruce picked up one for England. With the extra player advantage, England netted their final goal of the game from a side arm power shot from Ruby Smith (9-4).
In a low scoring game with a final score of 9-4, England achieved their first win of the tournament against a welsh team that have made two top teams work for a win. England will look to improve the on the stats in the next game as they only converted nine goals from twenty six shots.
Goals: Watt, Lafferty, Merrifield 3, R. Smith 3
Assists: Bruce 1, Merrifield 1, Brett 1