England 1-0 Canada: Ellen White header seals hosts' friendly win

By Catherine EtoeWomen's football reporter
England's late goal stuns Canada

An injury-time Ellen White header in Rotherham saw England beat Canada for the second time in under a month.

Both sides had chances in this friendly warm-up for England before July's Women's European Championship finals.

Tiffany Cameron came closest for Canada, but home keeper Karen Bardsley saved the midfielder's three efforts.

Rachel Yankey, meanwhile, reached 125 caps for England women as she matched the record set in the men's game by goalkeeper Peter Shilton.

Canada coach John Herdman had said his focus at the New York Stadium in Rotherham would be on the performance of his team rather than the result.

England's Rachel Yankey
Rachel Yankey reached 125 caps for England women by playing against Canada

Canada drew with world number five side France on Thursday and the Canucks' next big competition is still two years away, when they host the Women's World Cup.

England's preparations are more pressing, however, with the Euros in Sweden just three months away.

Having beaten Canada in the Cyprus Cup final in March, England's 46-year-old manager Hope Powell had fully expected the visitors to come out in attacking mode in South Yorkshire.

But Powell's players had their own point to prove, with nine of the starters having been part of the Team GB side whose Olympic dreams were ended by Canada in the quarter-finals of London 2012.

Both sides had opportunities in a mostly cagey first half, with Cameron twice producing saves from Bardsley, although the England keeper dealt with the midfielder's header and shot easily.

A corner from Yankey offered England the best of the early chances, Team GB star Steph Houghton heading straight at Erin McLeod in the Canada goal.

Arsenal's Houghton came close again just after the half-hour, her vicious volley drawing gasps from the crowd of almost 5,000 and a rousing tune from the England supporters' band. The shot fizzed over the bar, however.

The game only really burst into life with the introduction of England youngsters Jordan Nobbs, Jess Clarke and Toni Duggan in the second period.

Arsenal midfielder Nobbs sparked England on the hour, firing a shot just over the bar within a minute of her arrival on the pitch.

England began to press and Fara Williams and White both came close when the Canada defence failed to deal with a cross, but neither was able to penetrate McLeod's goal.

McLeod stood firm again when Houghton blasted a fine free-kick from 30 yards out and moments later the keeper was scrabbling to keep out a lofted shot from lively substitute Duggan, but the effort skimmed the bar.

The game was opening up and McLeod had to stretch again as White hit a hopeful shot across the Canada goal.

A flowing England move that featured Clarke and Nobbs then presented Alex Scott with a chance on the edge of the box, but her shot went over.

Scott was swiftly called into action at the other end, blocking a decent effort from Canada skipper Christine Sinclair, who had been well marshalled by the England defence throughout.

Then White finally broke the deadlock, diving at the far post to head home a wayward Williams shot in the box and hand England victory.

England manager Hope Powell: "We are on track [for the Euros], it's important to get this sort of quality of friendlies in to really test ourselves.

"We have to perform when it's do or die and this gives us some experience and confidence knowing we are capable of playing against the best teams in the world and beating them.

"It's probably the best [squad] it's ever been. You want to blood the youngsters, it is nice to know that you can replace quality with quality and we probably haven't had it as good before."

Canada manager John Herdman: "It was a pretty boring game of football to be honest. We weren't at the races.

"I was surprised at the lack of creativity and spark from Canada.

"As a performance, England were the better team, they looked that bit brighter. We both struggled to break each other's box down but in the last 20 minutes England had that bit more quality off the bench."

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