England 1-0 Bosnia and Herzegovina: Substitute Scott gives Lionesses victory in frustrating game
Photo: BBC Sport

England marked their second Euro 2017 qualifying match in Group 7 with their second win, dominating a Bosnia and Herzegovina side whose defensive discipline limited to them to just a 1-0 win.

The Lionesses completed controlled the game on their homecoming, playing in front of their own fans for the first time since claiming third place at the summer's World Cup, but were frustrated by a resolute opposing defence who proved tough to breach.

Jordan Nobbs hit the bar early on, but this was the closest the hosts came to breaking the deadlock as Bosnia refused to let them create chances, working tirelessly to keep them out.

England needed a substitute to inspire them instead, Mark Sampson choosing to introduce Jill Scott before the hour and the change proving to be a stoke of genius as she headed home with 21 minutes to play.

This proved to be the decisive goal too as England climbed to second in their qualifying table, level on points with Belgium but behind on goal difference with two games played.

Organised Bosnians frustrate Lionesses

England started the game firmly on the front foot, with this down to a mixture of their positive mindset and Bosnia's negative one.

The visitors sat deep and invited the pressure, committing no players forward as they focused on keeping the Lionesses at bay and then countering when possible. The impetus was thus on the hosts to knock the ball about with urgency in order to break down a disciplined defence, with Laura Bassett dictating the game from a holding midfield role just in front of her natural centre-half position.

The opening stages were spent more than predominantly in the Bosnian half, but the home team were struggling to get through on goal as the wicked wind took attempted through balls away from their targets, whilst a handful of corners were all dealt with well by the visiting side and their especially impressive goalkeeper, Almina Hodžić.

Gemma Davison was awarded Player of the Match for a fantastic display on a rare start for her country.
Gemma Davison was awarded Player of the Match for her fantastic display on a rare start for her country. (Photo: FAWSL)

However, with 10 minutes on the clock, it seemed that England had broken the deadlock as Nobbs fired goalwards from the best of 25 yards, only for Hodžić to deny her with a superb save in the visiting goal to tip the ball onto the bar. The stopper then bravely beat Isobel Christiansen to the rebound before defender Marija Aleksić came to the rescue as she blocked Jess Clarke's follow-up shot on the line.

The more Nobbs got involved, the more England threatened too, with Christiansen feeding her down the right midway through the half and the Arsenal midfielder in turn bending a lovely low cross in towards Eniola Aluko, but the Chelsea striker's sliding effort was poked just the wrong side of the near post.

The striker had another chance before the half hour mark too, Christiansen's drilled corner headed into the six yard box by Steph Houghton where Aluko was lurking, but she could only direct her header onto the roof of the net as the Lionesses kept up the pressure.

Goalless first half as visitors hold firm

It seemed like it would just be a case of the home team being patient and waiting for Bosnia to tire, but with England keen to break the deadlock before half time, the likes of Houghton and Bassett started to try their luck from distance, looking to produce that moment of magic that could open the floodgates.

It was little surprise that these ambitious strikes started to occur, with Bosnia constantly getting bodies in the way when the hosts moved up the pitch - Aluko's teasing cross blocked at the near post as Christiansen attacked it and Nobbs' strike from the rebound also blocked as the interval neared.

Determined England finally break deadlock

With the visitors having maintained the deadlock for the first 45 minutes, England were even more determined to open the scoring at the start of the second half.

It was more of the same, Bosnia frustrating the Lionesses, but the visitors' organisation could have, and really should have, took a huge hit just before the hour when Nikolina Dijaković, on a booking, dived in late on Christiansen, only to somehow escape a second yellow card.

The England midfielder dusted herself off to take the free-kick awarded just before the byline on the left wing, doing her best to deal Dijaković some sort of punishment for the challenge by striking at goal, trying to catch Hodžić out, but the 'keeper was alert to the danger as she parried it away from danger.

If Sampson and his side felt aggrieved by this decision, then this misery was compounded 10 minutes later by another poor call as Houghton was barged over by Milena Nikolić in the box whilst jumping to head a corner. The attacker had no intention of going for the ball, completely impeding the captain, but the referee saw it differently and waved away appeals for a penalty.

However, this frustration was channeled through their football and England finally took the lead just before the 70 minute mark.

Honoured prior to kick off after reaching 100 caps for her country, it was the substitute Scott who opened the scoring on a great occasion for her personally. Aluko created the opening with great work down the left, and it was her cross that the midfielder met at the near post, heading it down into the bottom corner and past the dive of Hodžić.

One goal enough for victory

Initially, after conceding, Bosnia pushed out a little more and were seen in England's defensive third for the first time in the game. 

Nonetheless, if one expected them to search for an equaliser, then this expectation was short-lived as England resumed action on the front foot, Nobbs blasting over inside the box after the ball broke kindly for her.

Bassett came close to adding a second for her team late on, drilling a fierce shot just past the post from the edge of the box, but Bosnia remained strong to limit the Lionesses to just the one goal, but still all three points.

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