Local Trio On Target As Lionesses Hit Russia For Six

Local girls Nikita Parris, Jodie Taylor and Toni Duggan were all on target as England opened their World Cup qualifying campaign with an impressive 6-0 dismissal of Russia at Tranmere Rovers, reports TheFA.com.

Liverpool-born Parris opened the scoring and Birkenhead sharp-shooter Taylor doubled the lead just two minutes later.

Jordan Nobbs added a third after the influential Fran Kirby saw a penalty saved by Tatyana Shcherbak.

Lucy Bronze made it 4-0 before half-time while Merseyside favourite Duggan hit a second-half brace to complete the scoring.Mark Sampson’s side might have won by an even more comfortable scoreline but for a number of interventions by the Russia goalkeeper.

The visitors had Ksenia Tsybutovich sent off in the first half, but it mattered not. They had been outplayed with 11 players and were totally outclassed with just 10.

There were only two changes from the Euro 2017 semi-final defeat by Netherlands last month, with Parris and Duggan coming in for Fara Williams and Ellen White.

England dominated from the off. There was panache mixed with urgency and Russia were simply not able to keep up with their illustrious hosts.

After half-hearted claims for a penalty, when Kirby’s shot appeared to hit Anna Kozhnikova’s hand, Mark Sampson’s side took the lead.

The Lionesses worked the ball well down the left before Kirby found Parris inside the box, and the 23-year-old slotted home her fifth international goal to break the deadlock.

Kirby was at it again when she played in Taylor, who was presented with her Euro 2017 Golden Boot before kick-off, to make it 2-0 from close range just two minutes later.

The only response Russia could muster was a 30-yard free-kick from Tsybutovich which flew just over the top of Siobhan Chamberlain’s goal.

England were presented with a glorious opportunity to add a third when Tsybutovich was shown a second yellow for handball inside the area – but Kirby’s spot-kick was saved by Shcherbak.

Sampson’s charges didn’t have to wait long for that third goal, however. Kirby exchanged passes with Duggan on the left-hand side of the box and then found Nobbs, who took a touch and then rifled a shot into the bottom corner.

Bronze and Duggan both had efforts saved before the Lyon full-back volleyed home a fourth goal on the stroke of half-time. England were in complete control.

Not to be outdone by the fellow Liverpudlians, Duggan stepped up to the plate just before the hour mark when she collected Bronze’s low centre and smashed home the Lionesses’ fifth.

Parris and Taylor were both substituted to standing ovations from an appreciate local crowd while White, who replaced Taylor, twice came close to making it 6-0 but found Shcherbak equal to her efforts.

And just when the 7,000-strong crowd thought they had seen the end of the goals, Russia captain Anna Kozhnikova miscued a clearance inside her own box, the ball fell kindly to Duggan and the Barcelona forward steered it into the empty net before blowing a kiss to her family in the stands.

Russia’s best chance of a consolation goal came in the final few minutes when substitute Ekaterina Pantyukhina smashed a shot against the bar.

England continue their World Cup qualifying campaign later this autumn.

They face Bosnia & Herzegovina at Banks’s Stadium in Walsall on Friday 24 November (7.05pm KO) and Kazakhstan at Colchester United’s Weston Homes Community Stadium on Tuesday 28 November (7.05pm KO).

Tickets for the games are on sale priced at just £1 each for children and concessions. An early bird adult ticket offer is available, priced £7.50, until Monday 25 September (full priced ticket is £10). Group booking and Charter Standard discounts also apply.

Tickets for both games can be bought via TheFA.com/Tickets.

England (4-2-3-1): 1 Siobhan Chamberlain (Liverpool); 2 Lucy Bronze (Lyon), 5 Steph Houghton (capt; Manchester City), 6 Millie Bright (Chelsea), 3 Demi Stokes (Manchester City); 4 Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), 8 Jade Moore (Reading); 7 Nikita Parris (Manchester City), 10 Fran Kirby (Chelsea), 11 Toni Duggan (Barcelona); 9 Jodie Taylor (Arsenal).

Substitutes: 14 Karen Carney (Chelsea) for Parris 61, 16 Ellen White (Birmingham City) for Taylor 65, 15 Isobel Christiansen (Manchester City) for Kirby 70.

Substitutes not used: 12 Laura Bassett (Unattached), 13 Carly Telford (Chelsea), 17 Alex Greenwood (Liverpool), 18 Jill Scott (Manchester City).

Russia: 1 Tatyana Shcherbak, 3 Anna Kozhnikova (capt), 9 Anna Cholovyaga, 10 Nadezhda Smirnova, 11 Ekaterina Sochneva, 15 Elena Danilova, 16 Marina Fedorova, 18 Elvira Ziyastinova, 19 Ksenia Tsybutovich, 22 Kseniya Kovalenko, 23 Elena Morozova.

Substitutes: 13 Anna Belomyttseva for Cholovyaga 33, 17 Ekaterina Pantyukhina for Sochneva 79.

Substitutes not used: 4 Tatiana Sheykina, 5 Natalya Mashina, 7 Irina Podshibyakina, 8 Maria Galay, 12 Alena Belyaeva.

Bookings: Tsybutovich 20, Smirnova 41, Sochneva 67

Red card: Tsybutovich 30 (second yellow)

Attendance: 7,047

Photos – TheFA.com