Women's Team

Lionesses conquered by Canada in friendly

Lionesses conquered by Canada in friendly
England concluded the international break with a frustrating 2-0 defeat at the hands of Canada, while the United States ground out an impressive victory away to France.

City trio Demi Stokes, Georgia Stanway and Lauren Hemp all started for the Lionesses as they looked to shake off Friday’s 3-1 loss to Les Bleus in Caen.

However, victory was far from a foregone conclusion for Hege Riise's side, with the Canadians coming to Stoke City's Bet365 Stadium full of confidence after a strong showing in their previous outing against Wales.

City winger Janine Beckie earned a starting berth after making an impact off the bench in that match and was heavily involved in the evening's opening goal, racing into space and looking to thread through Evelyne Viens inside three minutes.

Stokes was on hand to cut out the deft flick, but was then herself caught in possession by Viens, allowing her to pounce from close-range.

It was the second time in two days that Beckie and Viens had combined, with our winger also teeing up her international teammate in Friday’s 3-0 win over Wales.

England responded well to the early set back with Stanway flashing an effort just wide of the far post which had Stephanie Labbe scrambling after ten minutes.

And the stopper was called into action once again with the half hour approaching, tipping Jordan Nobbs’ vicious free-kick onto the top of the crossbar and out for a corner.

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Hege Riise’s pre-planned substitution of Stokes took place with 15 minutes of the first half to play, with the left back replaced by fellow City defender Alex Greenwood as she continues to work her way back to full fitness.

And there were more familiar faces on show as the players came out for the second 45, with Karen Bardsley lining up between the sticks.

Lucy Bronze, Chloe Kelly and Ellen White also got the nod in a second half of few chances, getting valuable minutes under their belts to maintain match sharpness ahead of a crucial period in the WSL season.

Hemp had the Canadian defence worried with ten to play as the Lionesses searched for a way back into the game, winning possession on the press before racing towards goal.

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However, Vanessa Gilles recovered just in time to block our winger’s effort as she pulled the trigger inside the box.

Hemp continued to be in the thick of the action, sustaining a serious looking cut just above the eye after a clash of heads.

Thankfully, the 20-year-old was bandaged up and able to continue for the final five minutes, but Canada caught the Lionesses napping after the lengthy delay.

A long ball over the top was diverted back towards Bardsley, but the goalkeeper’s attempted clearance was charged down by the onrushing Nichelle Prince, with the resulting ricochet trickling agonisingly into the net to complete the scoring.

The defeat means England have won just 4 of their last 14 internationals, but Beckie will be pleased with her fine form across the international break, earning two assists in two matches across the week.

And United States trio Abby Dahlkemper, Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle will be in an equally buoyant mood on their return to Manchester after playing their part in a deserved 2-0 victory away to France.

The Stars and Stripes were ahead inside five minutes when Alex Morgan was felled inside the box, allowing Megan Rapinoe to coolly dispatch from the spot.

Things got even better for the visitors 15 minutes later, when Morgan got in on the act to conclude the scoring with a clinical finish back across goal after being fed by Christen Press.

An assured performance from Dahlkemper kept the usually free-scoring hosts at bay, whilst Mewis and Lavelle’s industry and creativity proved vital as legs began to tire late on.

They will be keen to keep up that fine form as Gareth Taylor’s side reconvene ahead of a crucial period in the season, with an FA Cup Fourth Round clash with Aston Villa preceding next week's WSL grudge match with Chelsea.

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