England's winning start to UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ qualifying Group 1 is over after the unbeaten Czech Republic came away from Doncaster with a point.
Having picked up 12 points from their opening four fixtures England were keen to keep up that run in their last home match in the section. But seldom were the Czech defence breached and they now hold second place ahead of Spain outright, still five points behind England with a game in hand.
Both teams were without their most experienced attackers; England's Kelly Smith through suspension, the Czech Republic's Pavlina Ščasná with a knee injury. And that perhaps told in a cagy first half. England had the best of the play but their main chances came from defenders, Alex Scott having an effort cleared off the line and Faye White heading a crossed Karen Carney free-kick just wide.
Midway through the second half a Fara Williams free-kick forced a diving save from Marcela Zbořilová and with ten minutes left Scott curled a shot over following tenacious work by Carney. But the visitors secured their point and retain hopes of pipping England to the one automatic qualifying place in Finland next summer without recourse to the play-offs. The Czech Republic resume qualifying on 26 April against Northern Ireland before a trip to Spain on 8 May, when England are in Belarus.
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