Women's Team

Kelly strikes as Lionesses power to friendly win over Belgium

Chloe Kelly came off the bench to register her first international goal and set England on the way to a deserved 3-0 friendly win over Belgium.

All told, six City players featured at Molineux. Demi Stokes, Keira Walsh, Lauren Hemp and Ellen White all started with Kelly and Alex Greenwood summoned from the bench at half-time in the first of three friendlies for the Lionesses ahead of next month’s European Championships.

And after a goalless first 45 minutes, it was Kelly who made the all-important breakthrough, her deflected shot giving Sarina Wiegman’s side a 62nd minute lead, with fellow sub Rachel Daly doubling the advantage four minutes later.

And a dominant display was then capped by skipper Leah Williamson whose 83rd minute shot hit the bar and then went in off the back of Belgium keeper Nicky Evrard to make it 12 games unbeaten under Wiegman.

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It was no less than England merited after an encouraging display that saw them carve open a succession of opportunities.

The Belgium keeper had denied both White and Hemp inside the first 15 minutes.

Former City star Georgia Stanway was the next to go close before White was just unable to get the necessary purchase on a close-range effort.

ACTION STATIONS: Lauren Hemp lets fly for England
ACTION STATIONS: Lauren Hemp lets fly for England

Only a goal line headed clearance from Sari Kees then denied England skipper Williamson after she had dinked the ball over the keeper towards the goal after a neat one-two with Beth Mead.

The introduction of Kelly after the break for her first cap in more than 18 months following her ACL injury in May 2021, brought even more urgency to Wiegman’s side.

And it was the City striker who finally made the long-awaited breakthrough on 62 minutes as she registered her first international goal.

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Lucy Bronze fed the City striker down the right wing and Kelly first cut into the box with aplomb before firing in on goal.

The ball struck Belgian sub Amber Tysiak and flew in past the near post but was credited to Kelly.

Within four minutes, the Lionesses had doubled their advantage, fellow sub Rachel Daly expertly arrowing home with a 12 yard volley after another dangerous corner had caused panic in the Belgium defence.

FORWARD MARCH: Ellen White takes the fight to Belgium
FORWARD MARCH: Ellen White takes the fight to Belgium

And roared on by more than 9,000 fans in the West Midlands, captain Williamson rounded off a satisfactory night after Nikita Parris' shot was cleared off the line.

Williamson sweetly hit the rebound and the ball rebounded down and hit the keeper before crossing the line.

England's next friendly sees them play the Netherlands at Elland Road on June 24.

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