England women preserve perfect World Cup qualifying record with 4-0 rout of Ukraine

Last Updated: 09/05/14 6:37am

Natasha Dowie: Brace at Greenhous Meadow keeps England's women on track

England continued their march towards the 2015 Women's World Cup with a resounding 4-0 victory against Ukraine, Natasha Dowie and Eniola Aluko with two goals each.

Mark Sampson's side were frustrated in Shrewsbury until Dowie struck minutes before the break, but a second-half spree ensured they stayed perfect in Group 6 after six games.

England are yet to concede a goal in their qualifying campaign and remain five points clear of second-placed Wales, also 4-0 victors on Thursday in their home clash with rock-bottom Montenegro.

Jill Scott was an early menace at Greenhous Meadow, twice trying her luck to no avail, but Aluko seemed the most potent threat, drawing a smart save from goalkeeper Irnya Zvarich, before drilling into side-netting.

It was the Chelsea forward's give-and-go with Scott that helped bring belated reward for a side deploying a new 4-4-2 formation, the latter's delivery flicked beyond Zvarich by Dowie (41).

Aluko almost made it 2-0 moments later, shooting straight into Zvarich's shins when one-on-one, but she made amends soon after the restart (49), letting fly from Steph's Houghton's lay-off.

Dowie swiftly made it 3-0 with 53 minutes gone, turning in Houghton's header from a corner, and Aluko added gloss to a game long settled on 63, nudging a long ball past the outrushing Zvarich and slotting in from a tight angle.

Daryna Apanaschenko, let in by a late lapse, threatened a first defensive blot but Siobhan Chamberlain pulled off a fine save.

England's remaining qualifiers are all away from home - against Belarus, Ukraine, Wales and Montenegro - but Friday's convincing display brings a place at next year's showpiece tournament in Canada yet closer.

Sampson said: "I thought in the first half they set themselves up well, making it hard for us to break them down.

"We have some tough away games now which will be a different challenge for us, but we are where we want to be and we showed tonight that we have strength in depth."