England can count themselves unlucky to have come away with only a point from an entertaining World Cup qualifier against the Netherlands at Blundell Park.
It was one of the best performances by England in recent times and ended their run of four successive defeats. But England should have claimed all three points in the closing stages. A delightful ball by Kelly Smith found Angela Banks unmarked in the area, but with the whole goal to aim at, she shot straight at the Dutch keeper Marleen Wissink.
England began brightly with Smith bursting down the right after 10 minutes to set up Karen Walker, but the shot went wide. Walker then had a good case for a penalty turned down on 22 minutes when she was brought down on the left-hand edge of the area.
The Dutch were restricted to only a few chances, the best of which, a 20-yard free-kick from Lisette Tromp on 35 minutes, went straight at the England goalkeeper Pauline Cope. Rachel Yankey was then denied by Wissink with a free-kick of her own.
The home side came out with much more purpose in the second half and after only four minutes Walker forced a save from Wissink. Six minutes later and Sammy Britton blasted her shot just wide after Tara Proctor had collected a poor clearance from the Dutch and laid it off for her fellow midfielder.
But just as England looked set to get the decisive goal, the Netherlands broke clear and should have scored, but Nicole Delies' thunderous strike flew just past the left-hand upright. Then came Banks late miss that was to sum up England's night.Reuse content