England’s bid to retain the Bob Docherty Cup began with a thrilling game against the Republic of Ireland. First half goals from England duo Molly Pike and Phoebe Warner saw them go into the half time break 2-0 up. The Republic of Ireland, however, launched an incredible fight back with Sadhbh Doyle scoring a double to see the game finish 2-2. England won the resulting penalty shootout 3-2 thanks to heroics from goalkeeper Hannah Hampton. The result leaves England with two points and the Republic of Ireland with one point after their first game.
England performed excellently in the first half with right midfielder, Molly Pike, the stand out. After causing the Republic of Ireland defence plenty of problems right from the start, she had the honour of scoring England’s opening goal four minutes in. Bronwen Thomas played a delightful through ball into the penalty area that was weighted perfectly for the England number 17. Without having to break her stride Pike neatly side footed the ball into the top right hand corner of the net. England could not have wished for a better start.
Despite the English pressure the Republic of Ireland nearly equalized soon afterwards. The ball fell to Katie Bolger Burdis inside the penalty area but she fired her shot wide of the target.
In the eighth minute of the game England threatened again through Pike. After another great run down the right wing she unleashed a fierce shot towards goal. Irish goalkeeper, Rachel Baynes, was positioned well and expertly caught the ball to smother the chances of any further danger.
16 minutes into the game England found themselves 2-0 up. Miri Taylor, on the left flank, regained possession of the ball superbly high up the field. She then drove straight towards the byline and drilled a low cross into the six-yard area. Arriving to meet the cross was England’s Phoebe Warner, who converted excellently.
With a few more half chances for the remainder of the first half England appeared to be in a great position at the break.