England make heavy weather of win

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The Independent Online

England moved three points clear at the top of their pool with an unimpressive 1-0 victory against Kazakhstan in the World Cup qualifier here last night. The goal came in the 56th minute, from their 10th penalty corner when Denise Marston-Smith's shot found the roof of the net.

England had shown plenty of patience in their build-up but little imagination in their final move, becoming tense as the game progressed.

England controlled the midfield, creating a string of passes without ever looking to take control of the game and limiting Kazakhstan to just one penalty corner. With Mandy Nicholson and Mel Clewlow always in control at the back, England never looked likely to lose to a country without a single artificial grass pitch. Nevertheless, it needed the arrival of the substitutes Tina Cullen and Rachel Walker to inject some purpose into England's second-half performance. The Kazakhstan coach, Kamilya Shaimerdenova, expressed his satisfaction with the result after the game, saying: "England are a very good side and we are very pleased with our performance. We played to a plan and I am delighted."

Jenny Burke ensured the Irish supporters were in good voice as she scored four times in their 6-0 win against Uruguay which moved her team into second position behind England.

England: K Roberts; M Nicholson, M Clewlow, K Moore; S Blanks, L Wright, D Marston-Smith, J Bimson; A Bennett, J Smith, H Grant. Substitutes used: R Walker, T Cullen and L King.

Kazakhstan: M Tussubzhanova; G Karabalinova, Y Zhukalina, Y Svirskaya; A Mutallyapova, Y Apelganetz, G Imangliyeva; T Marchenko (capt), O Apelganetz, O Shelomanova, N Podshivallova. Substitute used: E Lind.

Umpires: C Akiyama (Japan) and C Valenzuelia (Chile).

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