England 0-2 Canada
By Ben Gilby
England suffered another defeat in a game of few real clear cut chances in Stoke.
The Lionesses got off to the worst possible start after just three minutes when Manchester City’s Janine Beckie was able to run through the midfield and played a ball on towards Evelyne Viens who was in an offside position. Demi Stokes, coming back into the team after a spell out injured, could only prod the ball towards Viens in to fire Canada in front.
Five minutes, later, the Lionesses fashioned an opportunity when Georgia Stanway looked up and saw Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe off her line and the City star hit a long range effort just wide.
England continued to push forward but struggled to find the final ball. Canada were stacking the midfield which made it challenging for the likes of Fran Kirby to get the sort of pass that they would turn into a potential goal scoring opportunity at club level.
Therefore, it took until just before the half hour mark for their next serious attempt. The Lionesses were awarded a free kick just outside the box, right of centre. Jordan Nobbs stepped up and rifled it in with Labbe forced to tip it onto the bar.
Shortly afterwards, Stanway had another long range effort which flew over the bar.
Five minutes before the break, Canada produced a rare serious chance on goal when Rebecca Quinn’s side foot half volley from outside the box was pushed over the top by Carly Telford for a corner. Lauren Hemp cleared Beckie’s ball in comfortably.
England responded with Hemp getting free down right and playing a ball in for Beth England who got ahead Shelina Zadorsky but hit her left footed effort wide.
The Lionesses began the second period on the front foot with a Beth England header being claimed by Labbe five minutes in.
Just after the hour mark, Canada began to consistently threaten again but both teams were still finding it tough to make that telling final pass to transfer chances into potential goals.
Lucy Bronze entered the fray with twenty-five minutes left and her first job was to put the ball behind for a corner after Nichelle Prince got a dangerous ball in from the right.
Nobbs created real damage down the right on 68 minutes and played a glorious cross field ball towards substitute Ella Toone but Jayde Riviere managed to intercept for the Canadians in time.
In the last ten minutes, there was another great chance for England as Hemp got away and advanced into the box. Just as the Norfolk born star was about to get a shot away, Vanessa Gilles got in a superb tackle.
With four minutes left, any hope the Lionesses had of preventing another defeat went out of the window and it was another catastrophe at the back. Millie Bright’s back pass looked routine to Karen Bardsley, but the England keeper took a touch which allowed Michelle Prince to nip in from close range to score.
Despite their best efforts, England were not able to create another goal scoring opportunity and it was another frustrating night.
On reflection a draw would have been the fairest result, but in the end, yet again, it was the all too familiar story of defensive errors that did for the Lionesses.
ENGLAND: Telford, Daly, Bright, Williamson, Stokes, Parris, Nobbs, Stanway, Hemp, England, Kirby. Substitutes used: Greenwood (for Stokes 31), Toone (for Kirby 45), Bardsley (for Telford 45), Bronze (for Daly 64), Kelly (for England 65), White (for Parris 80).
CANADA: Labbe, Lawrence, Gilles, Zadorsky, Chapman, Scott, Quinn, Beckie, Fleming, Rose, Viens. Substitutes used: Prince (for Rose 59), Huitema (for Viens 59), Riviere (for Scott 67), Schmidt (for Quinn 82).
Scorers: Viens 3, Prince 86.
Referee: Cheryl Foster.