Northern Ireland’s Women’s Under-17 lost to England in their opening qualifying game for UEFA WU17 Euro 2024.
UEFA Women’s European Under-17 Championship 2023-24
Qualifying First Round (League A)
Northern Ireland WU17s 0 England WU17s 6
England: Laila Harbert (14'), Vera Jones (26' & 45+1'), Denny Draper (29' & 51'), Harwood (86')
BSC Stadium, Budaörs
4 November 2023
This was Northern Ireland’s first match in League A Group A6 in the first round of qualifiers for the UEFA WU17 Euros 2024.
The Group A6 mini tournament is being staged in Budapest metropolitan area in Hungary. The England game was played in the BSC Stadium in the town of Budaörs, as will Tuesday's game with Belgium, before concluding against the hosts on Friday in Telki's Globall Football Park.
How it happened
England moved in front with just under a quarter-of-an-hour on the clock when Laila Harbert received the ball from Denny Draper to burst through from the edge of the area and send a powerful effort into the roof of the net.
Two goals in quick succession around the half-hour mark then put England firmly in control.
Vera Jones doubled their advantage on 26 minutes after getting past keeper Abbie Smith to slot home from the edge of the six yard box before, three minutes after that, Draper lifted the ball over Smith from around 12 yards out following a team move down the left.
Despite this Gail Redmond's side never let their heads drop and began to create more as the half progressed.
Rhianna Breen battled her way into the box on 42 minutes only to poke her shot narrowly left the post and, a couple of minutes after that, Mia Moore tested England keeper Hope McSheffrey with a curling effort from distance.
But, just as the game ticked over into first half stoppage time, Jones doubled her tally after meeting a cross from the left at the far post to send England in at the break four goals to the good.
Half-time: Northern Ireland WU17s 0 England WU17s 4
Northern Ireland almost pulled one back during the opening moments of the second half after Niamh Boothroyd sent a clever lofted effort from the edge of the area towards the near post only for McSheffrey to do well to make the save.
However England extended their advantage on 51 minutes. Lola Brown took the ball down the left and sent over a cross for Draper to bag her brace with a glancing header from the edge of the six yard box into the top right corner.
Always focused and always determination in the face of strong opposition, Northern Ireland never gave up and might have grabbed a 79th minute consolation when Boothroyd was threaded through and after spotting the keeper had strayed off her line attempted an ambitious lob from just outside the area, only for the ball to drift just over.
England completed the scoring with five minutes remaining with a sublimely struck Sophie Harwood free-kick from the edge of the area which curled around the wall and crept home at the near post.
Full-time: Northern Ireland WU17s 0 England WU17s 6
Northern Ireland WU17s: Abbie Smith, Niamh Hassan, Zoe Knox, Darcie McNeill, Daisy Conway, Sophie Kelly-Bradley, Clodagh Maguire, Rhianna Breen, Mia Moore, Gracie Conway, Niamh Boothroyd
Substitutes: Ellen Hampton, Zara Maguire, Eva Myles, Lucy Kelly, Jessica McGuinness, Bernadette Ferreira, Rhianna Murphy, Laura Dowey, Laurie Bell
England WU17s: Hope McSheffrey, Nelly Las, Jessica Pegram, Simone Sherwood, Rachel Maltby, Sophie Harwood, Laila Harbert, Vera Jones, Erica Parkinson, Denny Draper, Lola Brown
Substitutes: Rebekah Dowsett, Scarlett Hill, Emily Cassap, Isabella Hobson, Lauryn Thompson, Eva Hendle, Isabella Fister, Mia Endacott