England 2 Wales 0 match report: Jordan Nobbs and Toni Duggan keep England's women on right track


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The Independent Football

Jordan Nobbs and Toni Duggan fired England to a comfortable victory over Wales at Millwall as Brent Hills preserved his 100 per cent record as caretaker manager.

The Football Association is biding its time over naming the permanent successor to Hope Powell, who was sacked after the team's poor performance in Euro 2013, but Hills is making a strong case to stay in the post.

England have won all three of their qualfying matches for the 2015 World Cup, scoring 16 goals and conceding none. The route to Canada in two years' time looks one that England should negotiate with some comfort.

Hills told the BBC after the game: "The key was to keep playing our game, pass the ball and dominate possession and wait for the chances. I was certain they'd come."

On the night of the Football Association's 150th anniversary celebrations, England's women, a team that only came under the FA's control in 1993, showed patience and the chances did come.

Wales defended with tenacity in the first half as England threatened. Steph Houghton saw a free-kick pushed for a corner while the playmaker Karen Carney forced Nicola Davies to turn an audacious 35-yard chip over the bar.

The Arsenal combination of Alex Scott, Nobbs and Ellen White combined skilfully just before half-time. The right-back Scott, venturing forward, cut the ball back to Nobbs and her floated pass forward almost landed on the head of White, but the Welsh goalkeeper Davies was swiftly off her line.

Davies had to be equally sharp just a minute later when Eniola Aluko crossed from the right towards the far post where Carney, straining to reach the ball, put in a firm header that the goalkeeper adeptly blocked.

Wales were hindered by an arm injury suffered by their captain Jess Fishlock early on. She was bandaged up and continued but she was clearly in discomfort.

The Welsh resistance lasted only until the 48th minute when Scott's scuffed shot ran kindly for Nobbs, and her clever looping shot from 15 yards went over Davies' head and into the net. It was 2-0 nine minutes later as Duggan cracked a fine low shot into the bottom left corner from 15 yards.

Fishlock was substituted, before Wales momentarily threatened when Helen Ward drilled a low shot wide of the right post from 20 yards.

But England were able to cruise through the final half-hour, taking off Aluko, White and Duggan ahead of Thursday's qualifier away to Turkey ‑ a team Hills' players beat 8-0 in Portsmouth last month.

England Bardsley; Scott, Bronze, Williams, Houghton, Stoney, Aluko (Scott, 62), Nobbs, White (Dowie, 74), Carney, Duggan (Clarke, 74).

Wales N Davies; Dykes, Bleazard, K Davies, Ingle, Fishlock (Green, 58), James, Ladd, Ward, Wiltshire (Keryakpolis, 78), Harding (Hawkins, 46).

Referee Stéphanie Frappart (Fr).