Williams hat-trick downs Belarus

Belarus 1-6 England
Fara Williams scored a hat-trick to keep Hope Powell's side on course for UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™.

Fara Williams scored a hat-trick in England's 6-1 win

Fara Williams scored a hat-trick to inspire England to a 6-1 victory against Belarus and keep Hope Powell's side on course for UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™.

Profitable half
England were three goals to the good inside 25 minutes in Minsk thanks to a strike from Jill Scott and two by Williams, before the hosts replied through Natallia Ryzhevich. Lianne Sanderson put the visitors further ahead two minutes before the break but England faced a more resolute Belarus in the second and had to wait until the final four minutes to add to their lead when Williams completed her hat-trick and Faye White headed in number six.

Early goals
The first goal arrived with only 30 seconds on the clock when Scott headed in Rachel Yankey's cross at the near post, and one quickly became two when Williams drove a free-kick into the top corner following a foul on Scott. Having suffered a 6-1 reverse on Saturday against Spain, Belarus dropped deep to try and limit the damage, but the tactic did not have the desired effect as Williams capitalised on the available space to score her second with a shot from 23 metres midway through the half.

Difficult conditions
Ryzhevich gave Belarus some hope on the half hour mark when her deep cross deceived England goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain, but the respite was only brief as Sanderson's close-range finish restored the three-goal lead going into the break. Heavy rain and hailstones made the going difficult in the second half and England were forced to wait until the closing stages when Williams again illustrated her prowess from distance, and White headed in another assist from Arsenal LFC team-mate Yankey to cap a fine day's work. With Spain beating the Czech Republic 4-1 to take second place, England's lead is now up to three points. However, they have a tough finish with trips to the Czech Republic on 28 September and Spain four days later.