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Nikita Parris struck a stunning long-range effort as a late England charge ended Wales' UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship ambitions.
A tense, taut Group A game hung in the balance until 63 minutes when Melissa Lawley marked her return from suspension with an opportunistic strike. Parris failed to double the lead from the spot after Alys Hinchcliffe had brought her down, firing against the crossbar, but atoned as she sent a wonderful looping effort seven minutes from time into the top corner. She then turned provider, laying on England's third for Bethany Mead as Wales' earlier effort took its toll.
England won 6-0 the last time these sides met in a competitive fixture 18 months ago, but a repeat never looked on the cards. Indeed, for much of the first half it was the hosts that had the better of the play. A pattern developed, with Rachel Hignett and the excellent Angharad James helping Wales tick over nicely in midfield before Jarmo Matikainen's side ran out of ideas in the attacking third.
England were always a threat, on the break and especially set pieces – they so nearly scored inside ten minutes after a corner created a real goalmouth scramble. A combination of good goalkeeping and desperate defending denied them, but as half-time approach they began to start dictating terms a little, retesting the resolve of the Wales back line. The wall of red shirts held firm.
It was the same three days ago, against Denmark, and as with then the hosts fell behind just after the hour. Alice Evans had only just regained her feet after keeping out Parris when Lawley made a driving run from halfway and, with the Wales defence backing off, fired a low shot inside the far post from the edge of the box. Parris had a simple chance to make the game safe from the spot; she squandered it, but more than made amends.
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