Carney Hat-trick Helps England Sink Serbia

After beating Bosnia 1-0 in the last qualifier manager Mark Sampson called on his team to be more clinical.

And they certainly responded with goals from Alex Greenwood, Rachel Daly on her debut, Ellen White and Isobel Christiansen to add to Carney’s treble.

England, now second in Group 7 behind Belgium – but with a game in hand – started brightly and Carney struck harmlessly wide across goal from 25 yards inside 90 seconds.

White was next to try her luck, but the Notts County striker saw a half volley creep just too high and she rattled the woodwork on eight minutes from a tight angle after latching onto Christiansen’s through pass.

Skipper Steph Houghton saw a well-struck free-kick clawed away by goalkeeper Nilsson as England continued to dominate.

The home side inevitably took the lead on 16 minutes when left-back Greenwood ran in behind the Serbia defence to latch on to Fara Williams’ low pass and slotted in a fine finish from a tight angle.

Greenwood almost turned provider when Lucy Bronze leapt highest in the box to meet her corner, but the Manchester City defender’s header crept inches wide.

Serbia goalkeeper Susanna Nilsson had to scramble back on her line to push away a speculative 30-yard effort from White, before Christiansen, first to the loose ball, struck wide.

White won a penalty on 33 minutes when Mirela Tenkov barged into the back of her and Carney made no mistake from 12 yards, blasting the ball low to Nilsson’s right.

The Lionesses were utterly dominant and got a third goal before the interval. White, a constant thorn in Serbia’s side, squared to debutant Daly who swept in from six yards.

England began the second half with the same vigour as they had the first as Williams tested Nilsson’s handling with a rasping 25-yard effort.

White had the goal her performance deserved on 51 minutes when she dragged the ball past defender Nevena Damjanovic and fired in from six yards.

Number five arrived less than 60 seconds later with Christiansen stabbing in from close range after Carney’s initial effort had been blocked.

Nikita Parris was introduced for her debut on 57 minutes and almost made an instant impact, but saw her header blocked on the goal line by Jelena Cankovic.

Carney bundled in her second goal and England’s sixth from close range on the hour after Parris had knocked down Greenwood’s corner.

And the Chelsea striker had her hat-trick soon afterwards when Tijana Krstic fired an attempted clearance straight at Carney who volleyed in from two yards out.

White was denied from close range in the dying seconds, but England had done more than enough and will hope for a repeat when they play Serbia again on Tuesday where victory will ensure they cannot finish lower than second in the group.

England (4-1-2-1-2): 1 Karen Bardsley (Manchester City); 2 Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), 5 Steph Houghton (capt; Manchester City), 6 Laura Bassett (Notts County), 3 Alex Greenwood (Liverpool); 4 Fara Williams (Arsenal); 8 Jill Scott (Manchester City), 7 Isobel Christiansen (Manchester City); 10 Karen Carney (Chelsea); 9 Ellen White (Notts County), 11 Rachel Daly (Houston Dash).

Substitutes: 18 Nikita Parris (Manchester City) for Daly (57), 17 Gemma Davison (Chelsea) for J Scott (65), 15 Jade Moore (Birmingham City) for Christiansen (75)

Substitutes not used: 12 Alex Scott (Arsenal), 13 Siobhan Chamberlain (Liverpool), 14 Demi Stokes (Manchester City), 16 Jodie Taylor (Arsenal)

Serbia (4-4-2): 1 Susanna Nilsson; 2 Aleksandra Kozovic, 13 Marija Jonovic, 6 Nevena Damjanovic, 3 Tijana Krstic; 11 Vesna Smiljkovic (capt), 8 Marija Ilic, 4 Mirela Tenkov, 7 Allegra Poljak; 10 Jelena Cankovic, 9 Marija Radojicic.

Substitutes: 18 Sanda Malesevic for Ilic (55), 16 Dina Blagojevic for Jonovic (67), 17 Olivera Markovic for Radojicic (89).

Substitutes not used: 12 Milica Kostic, 5 Violeta Slovic, 14 Marijana Jankov, 15 Nikoleta Nikolic.

Attendance: 5,903

Source / photo – www.thefa.com