ENGLAND 5-0 ESTONIA (Carter x3, J.Scott, Carney)

Danielle Carter scored a hat trick as England Women produced a dominant display to see off Estonia at Meadow Lane, meaning they top their EURO 2017 qualifying group with one round of matches to play.

Boss Mark Sampson fielded a weaker than usual starting line up, with the unlikely omission of keeper Karen Bardsley, who picked up an injury in training. Jo Potter and Carter were also given starts, the latter playing for the first time since the Lionesses 8-0 win in Tallinn last September.

With just five semi-professional players, Estonia looked to be an easy opponent for an England side that has dropped just two points in the qualifying campaign, and it started well for the hosts, as Carter needed just nine minutes to open the scoring. After receiving the ball from the flanks, she turned her defender, and then found the bottom left hand corner.

Minutes later, England doubled the lead. After Demi Stokes found Manchester City team mate Nikita Parris in space from the left, who took her shot first time only to see it rattle of the crossbar. Jill Scott was there to pounce on the rebound for one of the easiest goals she’ll ever score.

With less than a quarter of the game gone, it was 3-0. Parris raced down the right, found an unmarked Carter, who then simply tapped in from six yards out.

It was looking to be a long night for the Estonians, who were barely out of their own half for 90 minutes. A more composed defensive display did see the visitors hold England until half time, but in the second half the dominance would continue.

Danielle Carter continued to see the most of the ball, as two of her chances flew agonizingly wide, before Steph Houghton’s header sailed just over the bar. The chances were coming and coming for England, but it just was not going in. That was until a magic moment from Carter to seal her third of the game. An in-swinging corner from the right was parried by the Estonian goalkeeper, leaving the ball to fall to Carter, who took a touch before smashing the ball through the crowd to make it 4-0.

England did look content with 4-0, but moments before the final whistle, deep into stoppage time, were awarded a penalty. Karen Carney coolly converted to seal a perfect win for Mark Sampson’s Lionessess.

On Tuesday, England travel to Leuven to take on Belgium, where just a point will seal top spot in the group.

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