Report: Norway 1-1 England WU23s
Emma Coates' Young Lionesses had to settle for a draw after Aggie Beever-Jones' opener was cancelled out in Bryne
England women’s under-23s kicked-off their new season with a 1-1 draw against Norway in Bryne on Thursday evening.
Under the charge of new head coach Emma Coates for the first time, the Young Lionesses are competing in a new U23 European league this season and picked up a point from their first game.
It was a fair result too, after an equally-matched game which saw both teams create half-chances at either end throughout the first 45 minutes with captain Missy-Bo Kearns coming closest with a header from Jessica Naz's cross.
Norway also had opportunities, with Lucy Thomas having to tip a header onto the bar to deny Sara Horte's header, but it remained all square at the break.
England came closer after 70 minutes when Poppy Pattison's free-kick rattled the outside of the post and bounced wide as the Young Lionesses pressed for the lead.
And the deadlock was finally broken by England with just less than 15 minutes remaining, when Aggie Beever-Jones was picked out by a fine cross from Freya Gregory to power a header into the top corner.
But Norway hit back just three minutes later, as Thea Kyvag was put through on goal and made no mistake by firing a low shot into the bottom corner with Thomas left helpless.
Both teams went for the win in the final ten minutes, with substitute Anouk Denton firing a shot towards the top corner only to see it clawed away by the Norwegian 'keeper Sunniva Skoglund.
And when Norway forced a corner in stoppage time, there was relief all around as the England defence managed to scramble clear to earn their result.
The Young Lionesses will now head back to England, where they face Belgium at Shrewsbury Town on Monday evening (7pm) with tickets for that game still available.
England: 1 Lucy Thomas (Birmingham City), 2 Ella Morris (Southampton), 3 Poppy Pattinson (Brighton & Hove Albion), 4 Ruby Mace (Manchester City), 5 Mia Ross (Charlton Athletic), 6 Kiera Skeels (Charlton Athletic), 7 Jessica Naz (Tottenham Hotspur), 8 Missy Bo Kearns (Liverpool) (c), 9 Aggie Beever-Jones (Chelsea), 10 Laura Blindkilde Brown (Aston Villa), 11 Grace Clinton (Tottenham Hotspur, on loan from Manchester United)
Substitutes: 18 Freya Gregory (Aston Villa) for Blinkilde Brown 61, 16 Anouk Denton (West Ham) for Pattison 80, 12 Molly Pike (Southampton) for Skeels 80
Substitutes not used: 13 Fran Bentley (Bristol City), 14 Ruby Grant (BK Hacken), 15 Emma Harries (West Ham), 17 Melisa Filis (West Ham), 19 Asmita Ale (Tottenham Hotspur), 20 Missy Goodwin (Leicester City), 21 Tara Bourne (Sheffield United), 22 Khiara Keating (Manchester City), 23 Naomi Layzell (Bristol City)
Head coach: Emma Coates
Goals: Aggie Beever-Jones 76