Manchester City forward Ellen White came off the bench to score the only goal as England defeated Japan 1-0 in their second SheBelieves Cup fixture at the Red Bull Arena in New York this evening.
The forward was dropped for in-form Chelsea striker Beth England but came on to net an 83rd-minute winner and reduce some of the pressure on under-fire Lionesses boss Phil Neville.
England were unlucky not to be ahead inside the first five minutes of the match when Lauren Hemp won the race to a through ball and her effort was pushed behind for a corner by Japanese keeper Sakiko Ikeda before Ellie Roebuck made an equally as good save at the other end from Hina Sugita’s long range effort.
Beth England saw two first half shots easily saved by Ikeda while Chloe Kelly also tested the opposition goalkeeper but the Lionesses came no closer to breaking the deadlock.
The second half was starved of quality goalscoring opportunities. Riko Ueki took aim from distance but her shot was gathered by Roebuck while England were struggling to carve out any chances of note.
Ellen White replaced England in the 69th minute in a bid to spark life into the Lionesses’ attack and she made the breakthrough seven minutes from time, firing the ball into the net from close range.
The late goal offered very little time for Japan to find an equaliser and Roebuck remained largely untroubled in the England goal as Neville’s side recorded a much-needed victory.
England complete their SheBelieves Cup campaign against Spain in Dallas on Wednesday.