England earned three points in their second game of the SheBelieves Cup, leaving it Japan.
After falling to yet another defeat against the USA, Neville’s side travelled to New York in a bid to make wrongs right with a win against Japan.
Meanwhile, Japan also found themselves on the hunt for their first win, after failing to beat Spain in their opener on Thursday.
A half of missed opportunities
With a front three of Hemp, England and Kelly, the Lionesses looked set for an exciting afternoon in attack – and it started somewhat promisingly.
It was almost the perfect start for England after Hemp found herself through on goal, after piling the pressure on Japan’s back-line, but she couldn’t make the most of the opportunity.
Ellie Roebuck was called into early action as Hina Sugita fired from range, forcing the City keeper into a fingertip save.
As they did many times through the afternoon, a lapse at the back from Japan gifted England plenty of opportunities.
Pressure from Chloe Kelly left England through on goal, but she could only hit it straight at Ikeda Sakiko.
After being caught offside on multiple occasions, the Lionesses found themselves through on goal once again at the half an hour mark, but as is the theme of the first half, Sakiko did well to save from England.
Mina Tanaka proved to be Japan’s biggest threat going forward, but a tighter defensive display saw England keep her at bay.
Uninspired second half
The second half was… a half. Somehow it was even worse than the first half, and that was actually difficult to beat.
Another chance went begging for Bethany England as she failed to make the desired impact following her start.
Neville made five changes during the second half before England look remotely like threatening the Japan goal again, one of which included replacing England with Ellen White.
The breakthrough finally came eight minutes from the end, as pressure from Leah Williamson and Toni Duggan allowed the latter room to dink a ball over the Japan defence to the poised White who made no mistake from close-range.
Yet another lapse in concentration at the back, but this time England were able to capitalise.
The 90 minutes itself provided little to write home about, but England held on to secure their first win of this years SheBelieves Cup.
Dull and uninspired, but England finally have some points on the board.
They’ll play their final game Wednesday 11 against Spain.