England have suffered a blow in their preparations for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 with a shock 1-0 defeat to New Zealand at The Amex Stadium in Brighton.
The Lionesses missed a whole host of chances in-front of a packed out crowd as the Football Ferns snatched an unlikely one-goal victory.
The first half was a tale of missed opportunities for England. Fran Kirby played in Jodie Taylor early on but she made a hash of her effort, although there were some shouts for a penalty kick.
Taylor then glanced a header wide of the far post before the same player failed to beat visiting keeper Erin Nayler when in a great position following some woeful New Zealand defending.
Toni Duggan’s curling effort from the left was then pushed to safety by Nayler while Nikita Parris dinked an effort wide as England failed to show any kind of clinical edge.
Phil Neville’s side were almost left with red faces just before the break when New Zealand launched a rare attack but luckily for the Lionesses, keeper Carly Telford was alert to tip Betsy Hassett’s half-volley over the bar and out for a corner kick.
Frustration turned to disaster for England early in the second half when Telford fumbled an initial New Zealand effort and Sarah Gregorious bundled the ball into the net from six yards.
The Lionesses almost immediately levelled the scores when Lucy Staniforth whipped a dangerous free-kick in on goal but the ball flew the wrong side of the far post before substitute Karen Carney lashed a long range effort into the stand.
Carney was closer to grabbing a leveller moments later but she could only fire her shot straight at Nayler.
Troublesome forward Ellen White was thrown onto the field late on as England desperately searched for an equaliser but she had little effect as the visitors held on with relative comfort.