England beat Serbia in Euro 2013 qualifier

By Tony LeightonWomen's football correspondent
Ellen White and Aleksandra Savanovic
England goalscorer Ellen White challenges Serbia player Aleksandra Savanovic

England reclaimed second place in their Women's Euro 2013 qualifying group with a comfortable 2-0 win against Serbia at Doncaster.

Lincoln winger Jess Clarke opened the scoring when she latched onto a Rachel Yankey cross to slot home.

Ten minutes after the break Arsenal forward Ellen White rifled in a rebound, after Karen Carney's shot had been blocked by keeper Milena Vukovic.

The victory puts England two points behind Group Six leaders Netherlands.

England started well but midfielder Carney, White and winger Yankey all had early shots easily saved by Vukovic.

But in the 16th minute the defence was carved wide open and keeper Karen Bardsley had to make a fine stop from left-back Jovana Damnjanovic.

That was the only real scare of the night for Powell's team, however, and they quickly hit back as Yankey drilled an angled 20th-minute drive against the near post.

As the home side built up the pressure midfielder Jill Scott was unlucky with a low drive that zipped into the side netting.

But the opening goal finally arrived four minutes before half-time, White and Yankey combining to set up Clarke to shoot just inside the near post.

Jess Clarke
Clarke opened the scoring for England in the 41st minute

Six minutes after the interval White fired home after Carney's shot had been blocked by Vukovic following a Clarke cross.

Mindful that Serbia had come back from 2-0 down to draw the reverse fixture 2-2 in Belgrade, England pressed for a third goal to wrap up victory.

But they continued to misfire in front of goal, with Carney the main culprit as she sent a stoppage-time effort straight at Vukovic from eight yards.

England have four group games remaining but the key fixture will be June's home game against the Netherlands, with whom they had a goalless away draw last month.

England manager Hope Powell: "We didn't play to our best, but we did dominate the game and should have scored more goals - again.

"We played well in patches, but it was the fundamentals - sloppy passing at times - that was disappointing.

"But we said before the game that it was a must-win to give ourselves the best possible chance of qualifying, so more than anything I'm pleased with the points.

"Realistically it will probably come down to the Holland game, but we've got important games in between.

"We've made it hard for ourselves with that first game against Serbia, but we know what we have to do and if we do it we can qualify."

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