Alex Morgan's goal sees USA beat England Women 1-0 in Milton Keynes
Last Updated: 14/02/15 4:01pm
Alex Morgan's first-half header was enough to give Olympic champions USA a 1-0 win over England in front of 15,000 fans at Milton Keynes on Friday night.
It was the first time England have lost back-to-back games under Mark Sampson, but the USA deserved the victory in a hard-fought game.
A tentative opening to the contest saw both sides struggle to penetrate, with Jill Scott’s wayward long-range effort the only shot at goal inside the opening 20 minutes.
Morgan Brian found space in the England area moments later, but her shot at goal was blocked by on-rushing England captain Steph Houghton.
But in the 25th minute Alex Morgan put USA in front. Lauren Holiday exchanged passes with Brian before whipping the ball into the box for Morgan to head home despite England keeper Karen Bardsley getting a hand to it.
Buoyed by the goal, Holiday struck an effort from distance but this time Bardsley got behind it to gather comfortably. Ali Krieger was next to try her luck after a lay-off from Abby Wambach, but Bardsley was equal to the task, getting down to her left.
USA almost went into half-time two goals up after Meghan Klingenberg’s delicious cross came off the head of an England defender, drifting inches wide of Bardsley’s left post.
Just after the restart Scott was forced to make a decisive tackle as Christen Press was about to pull the trigger from eight yards out.
England thought they had equalised in the 56th minute when Jodie Taylor put the ball in the back of the net.
Scott and Karen Carney combined to find Reading’s Fran Kirby who unleashed a shot that was tipped on to the crossbar by Ashlyn Harris. Taylor was there to put in the follow-up but saw the goal ruled out for off-side.
USA continued to bombard the England area with crosses but each time Bardsley and her defenders stood firm leaving the game finely poised heading into the final 15 minutes.
But the visitors continued to look dangerous with Bardsley forced into a crucial to deny Morgan her second of the game from what seemed like an impossible angle.
Regulars Eni Aluko, Lianne Sanderson and Fara Williams came on in the closing stages. Williams had a spectacular effort from 35 yards saved by Ashlyn Harris in added time but England were unable to find the equaliser.