Mead off the bench to score 14-minute hat-trick
- B. Mead (64′) (74′) (78′)
- B. England (72′)
- K. Burrows (60′)
Highlights: England 4-0 Northern Ireland
Watch the best of the action from Wembley Stadium as the Lionesses see off Northern Ireland
Beth Mead came off the bench to score a 14-minute hat-trick as England defeated Northern Ireland 4-0 in front of 23,225 fans at Wembley Stadium connected by EE.
Mead began the contest on the bench but with the game goalless, head coach Sarina Wiegman opted to bring on the Arsenal forward and she scored a stunning opener with her first touch.
And the 26-year-old would go on to net two more to become the first women to score a hat-trick at Wembley Stadium for club or country in any competition.
Lauren Hemp was instrumental in the victory and helped create the other goal – England’s second – for another replacement, Beth England, as the Lionesses continued their unbeaten start to the FIFA 2023 World Cup qualification campaign and top the group.
Northern Ireland had been resolute in defence for the first hour as the Lionesses piled on the pressure and the chances in what was their first competitive fixture at Wembley Stadium.
There was plenty of attacking intent on show in the opening exchanges as Hemp was millimetres away from scoring her first goal for the Lionesses.
She unleashed a ferocious shot from the edge of the box that hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced into the penalty area, with Nikita Parris unable to find a way through with the rebound.
Ellen White was involved in a dramatic few moments with Northern Ireland’s goalkeeper Jackie Burns, the pair initially colliding as they both went for Leah Williamson’s header.
Burns sent the resulting goal kick into the path of White, who saw her shot from inside the box saved as England continued knocking on the door.
The woodwork was rattled again when Alex Greenwood fired a chance from outside the box, with the crossbar again denying England the lead.
Fran Kirby had England’s last chance of the half, as she lunged at a Parris cross, but Burns was there again to snuff out any England danger to see the sides head in 0-0 at the break.
England had dominated the first half, with 80 per cent possession and 17 shots to Northern Ireland’s zero.
But Northern Ireland almost took the lead early in the second period as Lauren Wade broke down the left wing and sent the ball inches in front of teammate Caragh Hamilton, as it went out for a goal-kick.
Burns was on hand to keep chance after chance from the Lionesses out with Hemp again going close, with the ‘keeper pulling off a close-range save.
Wiegman opted for a double substitution just after the hour as she brought on Mead and England and the pair made an immediate impact.
Substitute Mead’s first touches of the game moved England into the lead in the 64th minute as she fired the ball into the corner of the net on the half-volley, much to the delight of the 23,225-strong crowd.
Fellow sub England tapped in Lauren Hemp’s floating cross-shot on the line to double the Lionesses’ lead eight minutes later.
It was then 3-0 two minutes later when Mead volleyed in Hemp’s cross at the far post and she wrapped up her hat-trick in just 14 minutes, taking advantage of Burns coming off her line to save by side-footing the ball into the empty net.
England: 1 Mary Earps (Manchester United), 2 Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), 3 Demi Stokes (Manchester City), 4 Leah Williamson (Arsenal) (c), 5 Millie Bright (Chelsea), 6 Alex Greenwood (Manchester City), 7 Nikita Parris (Arsenal), 8 Fran Kirby (Chelsea), 9 Ellen White (Manchester City), 10 Ella Toone (Manchester United), 11 Lauren Hemp (Manchester City)
Substitutes: 14 Keira Walsh (Manchester City) for Stokes 46, 19 Bethany England (Chelsea) for Parris 63, 17 Beth Mead (Arsenal) for Daly 64, 18 Lucy Staniforth (Manchester United) for Greenwood 80, 16 Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal) for Kirby 80
Substitutes not used: 13 Sandy MacIver (Everton), 21 Hannah Hampton (Aston Villa), 12 Niamh Charles (Chelsea), 15 Georgia Stanway (Manchester City), 20 Jill Scott (Manchester City), 22 Alessia Russo (Manchester United), 23 Jess Carter (Chelsea)
Head coach: Sarina Wiegman
Goals: Beth Mead 64, 74, 78, Beth England 72