Midfielder Lucy Porter was in ebullient mood after striking the decisive goal in England's crucial 2-1 victory against Austria in UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship Group A.
Ashleigh Plumptre had earlier wiped out Nina Wasserbauer's opener in Chesterfield, before Porter made her mark three minutes after coming off the bench. Exhibiting all her predatory instincts, the Liverpool LFC player peeled into space at the back post before sliding in Keira Walsh's pinpoint cross.
"It's the happiest day of my life. I don't normally score, so I was over the moon, for the team as well," the 15-year-old enthused after Lois Fidler's charges climbed into second place, two points clear of their closest pursuers with one to play. "We needed to win to give us a chance of qualifying and I'm happy to have put the team in a good position."
A proud moment was made even more special by the presence of the Porter fan club, who cranked up the decibel level with her every touch. "All my friends from school came to watch. Whenever I got the ball they started screaming. I loved it – I didn't expect them to be that loud," said Porter, who attributed her goal to Fidler's pearls of wisdom at the interval. "Lois urged me to make forward runs after coming on and I delivered."
Porter's winner came at an important time for England, who had spent long spells of the second half absorbing an Austrian onslaught. "They were tough opposition; they were more aggressive than previously but we dealt with them well and it's great to get the three points," she said. "The team defended and attacked as a unit and it was an all-round good performance. I felt like I was part of a team success which makes me really happy."
A point from their final game against Portugal on Monday will be sufficient for England to take their place in the last four, and Porter is eager to grasp the opportunity. "Everyone is over the moon, but we're now composing ourselves for the next game. The team knows [we're in a good position] so we're going to make sure we get the job done and qualify," she explained.
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