England Women 0-0 Wales Women: Lionesses draw a blank

source : skysports.com - 06/04/18 9:30pm

England`s Nikita Parris (left) is challenged by Charlotte Estcourt of Wales

England Women missed the chance to top their World Cup qualifying group as they were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw by Wales in Southampton on Friday night.

The toothless Lionesses failed to crack Wales` ultra-defensive set-up, labouring to a galling goalless draw in new boss Phil Neville`s first home game at the helm.

England dominated territory and possession from first to last, but still failed to conjure any genuine clear-cut goalscoring chances.

Wales boss Jayne Ludlow`s 4-5-1 formation and regimented approach thwarted England at every turn - leaving the visitors celebrating a hard-fought point that keeps them top of Group A.

Neville`s England might now be ranked second in the world, but they could do nothing to break down a side rated 34th in the global reckoning.

Wales` stifling tactics worked wonders for the visitors, but England fell far too easily into those well-laid traps.

Neville`s team failed to force any daylight between Wales` blanket double-lined defensive coverage, duly paying the price by failing to claim victory.

Rachel Rowe fired a wild volley for Wales in a rare first-half foray.

But despite England`s total dominance in territory and possession, the visitors had the first clear chance of the half.

Natasha Harding`s low drive cannoned off Steph Houghton, with Lucy Bronze clearing on the line.

Referee Pernilla Larsson rejected Wales` claims the ball had crossed the line, leaving the travelling players frustrated to be denied the goal.

Jordan Nobbs blasted a long-distance effort against the crossbar in England`s only true threatening moment of the first half, with goalkeeper Laura O`Sullivan just managing to tip the strike to safety.

Fran Kirby`s fine technical volley was well blocked as the pattern of England pressing without reward resumed after the break.

Melissa Lawley and Ellen White injected much-needed impetus off the bench, as the hosts realised they had to crank up the pressure to break the deadlock.

First White only just failed to reach Lawley`s low cross, then the Birmingham striker fired off a smarting half-volley, only for O`Sullivan to save with precious little fuss.

England kept pressing, but kept on failing to provide enough control or acumen to steal the victory.

Abbie McManus poked wide from a late corner, before Kirby saw a long-range effort tipped over by O`Sullivan.

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