Arsenal stars feature in England defeat

Arsenal's Leah Williamson has been shortlisted for the Women's Super League player of the year award

Arsenal's Leah Williamson has been shortlisted for the Women's Super League player of the year award - Credit: PA

England fell to a 3-1 defeat away to France in an international friendly on Friday night as Hege Riise learnt more about her squad.  

Arsenal duo Leah Williamson and Beth started the game as Jordan Nobbs and Lotte Wubben-Moy came on as second half substitutes in Caen.  

France started the game with more intent as Sandy Baltimore got down the flank before playing a cross into the box but Millie Bright was on hand to turn the ball behind.  

Baltimore was causing all sorts of problems for the Lionesses as on seven minutes the winger saw her shot deflect off Bright and go behind for a corner that came to nothing.  

England then created their first opening on 14 minutes when Kiera Walsh sent a pass into Fran Kirby and she squared the ball to Mead who's effort was saved by former Gunners stopper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin in the French goal.  

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Mead was then to find herself in the book several moments later when she caught French skipper Marion Torrent late.  

Corinne Diacre's side could have broken the deadlock on 22 minutes when Ellie Roebuck came out for a corner and got nowhere near the ball allowing Kadidiatou Diani to get a shot in but she fired over the top.  

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Peyraud-Magnin was then to make a terrific stop to keep out Nikita Parris whose shot from range was well tipped behind by the keeper at full stretch.  

On 31 minutes Roebuck made a brilliant save to keep the score 0-0 as Baltimore fired in a strike that moved in the air but the keeper reacted well to make the stop.  

A minute later Hege Riise's side had the ball in the net when Mead crossed for Ellen White to slide in but Mead was adjudged to have been offside in the build up to it.  

France did take the lead however when England switched off at the back and Diani got clear down the right before pulling the ball back for the impressive Baltimore to lash her effort into the top corner of the net.  

England responded well and were once again denied by Peyraud-Magnin when Parris got a shot away on goal but the keeper got down well to deal with it.  

With five minutes of the half remaining it was the French keeper who made another good save from Parris after Kirby's effort had deflected into her path before Peyraud-Magnin saved with her feet.  

On the stroke of half-time it was so nearly 2-0 for the French when Baltimore crossed for Valérie Gauvin who got ahead of Williamson before sliding her effort over the crossbar.  

It was England who had the final goalscoring opportunity of the half when Parris was played in with a clipped in cross but she headed wide of the target.  

Riise's side began the second half in the ascendancy as Kirby played in Rachel Daly before her effort was brilliantly tipped over by Peyraud-Magnin.  

Roebuck was then to come to England's rescue on 61 minutes when Baltimore sent a pass into Marie-Antoinette Katoto and her powerful effort was well tipped behind by the Manchester City stopper.  

However, France did win a penalty a matter of seconds later when Diani hit a thumping shot from range that was tipped onto the bar by Roebuck before Daly caught Elisa de Almeida as the full-back looked to tap in the rebound.  

This allowed Viviane Asseyi the chance to double her sides lead and that's exactly what she did sending Roebuck the wrong way in the process.  

This then forced Riise into action as she took off Williamson and Mead on 65 minutes replacing them with Lauren Hemp and Wubben-Moy.  

On 73 minutes Nobbs was introduced as she came on for Jill Scott taking the captains armband in the process.  

England would then win themselves a penalty of their own when the tricky Hemp raced into the box before being taken down by Torrent allowing Kirby to step up and slot home her 14th goal for England sending the keeper the wrong way in the process.  

Hemp made a huge difference for the Lionesses as with ten minutes to go she got herself into the area before pulling the ball back for Walsh who cracked her effort off the base of the post.  

France however did seal the win in the 81st minute as they hit England on the counter attack with Diani racing past Wubben-Moy before squaring for Katoto who tapped the ball beyond Roebuck.  

Kirby also impressed on the night and could have made things interesting when she got into the box and squared for Bethany England but the French defence were on hand to clear the danger.  

England had the final opportunity of the game when Chloe Kelly hit a tame effort from close range that trickled into the hands of Peyraud-Magnin.  

England team: Roebuck, Williamson (Wubben-Moy 65),Bright, Greenwood (Charles 46),Daly, Walh,Scott (Nobbs 73),Mead (Hemp 65),Kirby, Parris (Kelly 46), White (England 73). 

Unused subs: Maciver, Turner, Toone, Stanway, Telford, Bardsley, Morgan. 

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