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Leah Williamson leaves it late to earn England victory in Czech Republic


England Women signed off from 2019 with a much-needed 3-2 win against the Czech Republic in a snowy Ceske Budejovice.

Lionesses head coach Phil Neville had called for a response from the 2-1 defeat to Germany in front of a record-breaking crowd at Wembley, which was a fifth loss from seven matches.

The Czech Republic, though, made the most of another slow start from England as Tereza Szewieczkova fired the home side into the lead after 15 minutes.

The goal that ends our year with a win 🙌

Congrats@leahcwilliamsonon your 1⃣st senior goal!pic.twitter.com/WgWaW2Matu

— Lionesses (@Lionesses)November 12, 2019

England then struck twice in the space of three minutes through Beth England and Arsenal’s Beth Mead to turn the match around – but Slavia Prague forward Szewieczkova equalised just before the half-hour with a 25-yard effort.

The conditions continued to deteriorate, and England capitalised with just four minutes left when a low shot from defender Leah Williamson was deflected past the Czech keeper for her first international goal.

England were without captain Steph Houghton, Alex Greenwood, Jodie Taylor and Ellen White as Neville looked to both manage player fitness and utilise his squad.

Good Luck my team! Go and smash it! 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿🦁🦁🦁https://t.co/o6oRMhCxKj

— Steph Houghton MBE (@stephhoughton2)November 12, 2019

Chelsea goalkeeper Carly Telford replaced Mary Earps as one of five changes from the Germany game, with Demi Stokes, Millie Bright, Lucy Staniforth and Blues forward England all coming in.

England again looked laboured during the opening exchanges and should have been behind inside two minutes when Andrea Staskova headed a deep cross over from six yards.

Chelsea striker England collected Jill Scott’s pass before slotting home, but had ran offside.

The Czech Republic took the lead in the 15th minute after a quick exchange of passes fed Szewieczkova into the left side of the England penalty area and she drove past Telford at the near post.

Beautiful finish,@bmeado9! 👏pic.twitter.com/29tccjPxn8

— Lionesses (@Lionesses)November 12, 2019

The Lionesses, though, were soon level as Nikita Parris knocked the ball into the right of the box, managing to get to it before it ran out of play and chipped a pass back for England to volley home.

Before the home side could regroup, they were 2-1 down when Staniforth picked out Mead, who curled a fine finish it the far corner.

England almost then extended their lead, when Chelsea defender Bright got on the end of a low cross, but her shot looped up onto the crossbar.

Szewieczkova, though, grabbed her second goal to level things up in the 25th minute.

England were punished for some more wayward defending as the Slavia Prague forward capitalised on loose possession to drill the ball over Telford into the top corner from 25 yards.

❄️ Snowy first half is over in České Budějovice and we saw four goals already as Tereza Szewieczková scored a brace, Bethany England and Beth Mead scored for@Lionesses🇨🇿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿@zenyfotbal#holkytaky#ceskareprepic.twitter.com/I2ndh9jfWK

— Czech Football Team (@ceskarepre_eng)November 12, 2019

Manchester City midfielder Scott had a low effort pushed behind and saw another late first-half chance blocked following a breakaway.

Following the restart, the visitors enjoyed more possession, with England heading over from a corner before Staniforth’s 20-yard effort flew just over.

As the hour mark passed, Scott headed down a deep cross which Mead slotted home – but the Manchester City midfielder had climbed over the Czech defender, so the goal was ruled out for a foul.

Finishing 2019 off right 👏pic.twitter.com/2wFcPfBfRH

— Lionesses (@Lionesses)November 12, 2019

England felt they should have been given a penalty when Mead was barged down from behind by Andrea Jarchovska, but the referee waved play on.

Bright tried her luck from distance, but Czech goalkeeper Barbora Votikova – whose YouTube vlogger channel has amassed 77.1million views – was alert to palm it aside.

Just when it looked like England would be left frustrated, a corner from the left was only partially cleared to the edge of the penalty area, where Williamson’s low shot deflected off a defender and skidded past Votikova into the bottom corner.

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