Duggan hat-trick helps England to thumping win
- 05 April 2014 15:16
- Posted by @roline_mcfc
England Women recorded their biggest win since 2005 with a 9-0 demolition of Montenegro at Brighton's Amex Stadium.
A hat-trick from Toni Duggan, along with goals from Jill Scott, Eniola Aluko, Karen Carney, Demi Stokes and Natasha Dowie plus a Jovana Mrkic own-goal, secured the win on a thoroughly comfortable day for Mark Sampson's side.
The result - though fully-deserved - was somewhat expected, since the visitors have only had a senior team for two years. Regardless, it was a vital victory, which ensured that England continued their flawless start to the 2015 World Cup qualification campaign.
Following the announcement that Steph Houghton had been chosen as England Women's captain for the foreseeable future, the Durham-born centre-back started in the heart of defence, whilst Scott operated in midfield and Duggan led the line upfront.
It didn't take long for the Blues' striker to open her account as she gave the home side the lead within a minute, latching onto an inch-perfect through-ball from Sanderson before firing the ball across the goalkeeper.
Inside the opening ten minutes, Duggan almost doubled her tally but her curling effort flew just over and her acrobatic attempt was straight at Marija Zizic in the Montenegro goal.
She did net her second of the game in the 13th minute though, pouncing on a loose ball in the area before poking the ball into the net from close-range following a fortunate ricochet.
Houghton then had two long-range shots saved by the legs of the Montenegro shot-stopper, before the Three Lions hit the post twice through Aluko and Sanderson.
As half-time approached, Sampson's side secured a three-goal lead when Scott crossed for Aluko, who headed the ball into the bottom corner. Scott then wrote her name onto the scoresheet moments later, sweeping home from 18 yards to give the Three Lions a 4-0 advantage at the break.
England continued where they left off in the second half, finding the net after just four minutes as Carney had space to turn in the box before unleashing a shot past Zizic.
It was 6-0 shortly after as Sanderson rounded the goalkeeper before her effort was deflected into the net by Mrkic. Substitute Stokes then netted the seventh at the back-post before Duggan completed her hat-trick with the goal of the game, smashing home the eighth from just outside the box.
Dowie ended the rout on 83 minutes, controlling Duggan's cross before lashing the ball home to make it 9-0.
Despite the chants of "we want ten" from the home crowd, England couldn't add to their tally which could easily have been far more comprehensive against an inexperienced Montenegro side.
England's next encounter is a home clash with Ukraine next month at Shrewsbury's Greenhous Meadow.
Meanwhile, Lynda Shepherd did not feature for Northern Ireland, who fell to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Sweden in their World Cup qualifier. The midfielder was suspended for the encounter but will return to action on Thursday for their clash with the Faroe Islands.
The visitors opened the scoring on eight minutes with a Kosovare Asllani penalty, before Lotta Schelin doubled the advantage ten minutes later. Emma Lundh and Lina Nilsson added the third and fourth goals late on.
Also in action today was Natasha Flint, who featured for the England under-19s as they secured the perfect start to their European Championship Elite Round qualifying campaign with a 1-0 win over Denmark.
A solitary Leah Williamson strike on 62 minutes earned the victory, sending the youngsters temporarily top of their four-team group. Finland then replaced the Three Lions at the summit, having thrashed Serbia 4-0.
Next up, Mo Marley's side lock horns with Serbia on Monday before facing Finland on Thursday. Only the top team in the group will qualify for the finals in Norway in July.