Arsenal’s Williamson is England matchwinner
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Arsenal’s Leah Williamson was England’s matchwinner on Tuesday as they ended 2019 with a 3-2 victory over the Czech Republic in Ceske Budejovice, writes Joshua Bunting.
Phil Neville's side found themselves behind after 15 minutes when Lucie Vonkova slipped in Slavia Prague's Katerina Svitkova, who had faced Arsenal Women in the Champions League, and she fired past the onrushing Carly Telford.
But two minutes later the Lionesses were level when Nikita Parris flicked the ball across goal for Beth England to volley into the roof of the net for her second goal for her country, after finding the net against Brazil last month.
Arsenal's Beth Mead then put England ahead three minutes later with a superb finish as she was picked out by Lucy Staniforth before she whipped her effort around Barbora Votikova in the Czech Republic goal and into the bottom corner of the net.
But the lead was shortlived as Czech Republic levelled when Szewieczkova tried her luck from range and saw her effort loop over Telford and into the net.
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The second half was far from a thriller but England, who were very much the favourites pre-match, looked the most likely to regain the lead.
Mead had a goal chalked off, when Jill Scott was adjudged to have committed a foul as she climbed on a defender to knock the ball down, and the Gunners forward was involved once again minutes later when she was denied what looked like a stonewall penalty after being brought down.
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However, England did end the year with a win as Williamson saw her deflected effort from outside the box beat Votikova and sail into the net for her first senior international goal on 86 minutes.
"We got the win, that's what I demanded," Neville told BBC Sport.
"We should be beating Czech Republic by more than 3-2. We dominated the second half but we were careless in possession and with the final ball or cross.
"Now the hard work starts for after Christmas, getting back to the level they and I know we can achieve. I'm looking forward now to the hard work and getting back to the level I know we can."