Bosnia & Herzegovina 0-1 England: Karen Carney comes to the Lionesses' rescue

Mark Sampson's side bounced back from Friday's disappointing draw with Belgium with a narrow win in Zenica.

Bosnia & Herzegovina 0-1 England: Karen Carney comes to the Lionesses' rescue
Karen Carney scored in the 86th minute to give England all three points. (Photo: Getty)
Bosnia & Herzegovina
0 1
Bosnia & Herzegovina: (4-3-2-1): Hodžić; Am. Spahić, Aleksić, Hasanbegović, Kuliš (Lihović 84' ); Šešlija (Al. Hadžić 90'+4), Al. Spahić, Radeljić; Piskić, Ai. Hadžić; Nikolić.
England: (4-4-1-1): Bardsley; A. Scott (Duggan 85'), Houghton, Stoney (Bronze 67'), Greenwood; Davison, Nobbs, Williams (Kirby 67'), Carney; J. Scott; Aluko.
SCORE: 0-1, Carney 86'.
REFEREE: Simona Ghisletta (SUI). Booked: Ai. Hadžić 52', Hodžić 85'.

England remain unbeaten in their Euro 2017 qualifying campaign after beating Bosnia & Herzegovina 1-0 on Tuesday.

The Lionesses have struggled to break down organised teams recently, drawing with Belgium on Friday and only beating Bosnia 1-0 in the reverse of this fixture, but they found a way to get the three points against an opponent playing for the point in Zenica.

Karen Carney was the match-winner with an 86th minute strike, and it was a goal that sent her side top of Group 7 with four of their eight games played.

Dominance finally pays off

Mark Sampson's side were the better team throughout the game by some distance, but, in an almost identical match to that in Bristol back in November, they found Bosnia extremely difficult to break down.

When they broke through too, the Lionesses were thwarted by another outstanding performance from goalkeeper Almina Hodžić

With less than 20 minutes on the clock, Alex Greenwood thought she'd opened the scoring with a terrific free-kick, but Hodžić was there to tip it onto the bar before her teammates cleared the danger.

Jill Scott, who scored the winner in the reverse, and Eniola Aluko would both be denied before half time too, while Jordan Nobbs was almost wheeling away in celebration before seeing an effort just before the hour spectacularly saved.

The pressure increased and intensified as the game progressed though, and it was eventually too much for Bosnia. More chances came and went, especially when a double substitution saw Sampson switch to a 4-2-3-1 set-up, and Carney would finally tuck one away with 86 minutes on the clock.

Even then though, Hodžić forced her to have two attempts, pushing her header from Greenwood's cross onto the bar before Carney acrobatically volleyed in the rebound, with the 'keeper catching the eye once more despite being denied a clean sheet.

Hodžić almost kept a well-deserved clean sheet. (Photo: Getty)
Hodžić almost kept a well-deserved clean sheet. (Photo: Getty)

Will the changes keep on coming?

On Friday against Belgium, Sampson's team selection was criticised as his side came from a goal down late on to secure a point that was still underwhelming.

For the trip to Bosnia on Tuesday, he gave the three players who made a difference off the bench in that game - Carney, Aluko and Gemma Davison - starting berths, while moving Fara Williams into her natural central midfield role.

The 4-4-1-1 set-up remained, with Scott still in a strange supporting striker role, but the win was secured this time around as the three changes in personnel paid off.

The switch to a 4-2-3-1 later in the game also helped, seeing Scott drop back into her normal midfield position, which may encourage Sampson to make the changes that many view as necessary for coming fixtures.

It wasn't pretty nor perfect, but it was three points nonetheless and an improvement from last time out.