England 4 Northern Ireland 0: Mead scores historic hat-trick after coming off the bench in Wembley World Cup qualifier

SUPER-SUB Beth Mead became the first woman to net a hat-trick for England at Wembley.

The Arsenal forward grabbed her first goal just seconds after coming off the bench to lead the Lionesses to a fourth successive World Cup qualifying win — putting Northern Ireland to the sword.

She completed a treble in a quick-fire 14 minutes to power England to the top of their group.

Delighted Mead said: “It is just an amazing feeling. It is an honour pulling on the shirt and to come away with a hat-trick is a special feeling.

“The manager said, ‘Go out there and make a difference’.

"It has to be up there in my career. To score a hat-trick for England at Wembley has to be up there for me and my family.”

Before kick-off, both sides took a knee in a respectful show of solidarity with players in the USA, Australia and Venezuela speaking out against harassment within their game.

But then it was down to business with the Lionesses going straight on the attack in front of a 23,225-strong crowd.

GET £50 IN FREE BETS Just stake £10 with Sky Bets on Prem this weekend

Back in February, England were three goals to the good early on against Kenny Shiels’ injury-ravaged side.

But the first half here was a slightly different affair.

Before the match, Leah Williamson admitted she had no intention of underestimating Northern Ireland in the first competitive meeting between the two sides, with crucial World Cup qualification points at stake.

And the stand-in Lionesses skipper and her team-mates really showed they meant business.

England hemmed them into their own half, unleashing 17 shots, but the first half somehow remained goalless.

Lauren Hemp and Alex Greenwood both hit the woodwork.

Hemp’s venomous left-footed shot had smashed the underside of the crossbar before bouncing out of play.

Later, Greenwood’s thumping 25-yarder hit the woodwork too.

The second half saw boss Sarina Wiegman shuffle her cards by bringing Keira Walsh and Mead on.

And it proved to be a clever move, with Barclays WSL player of the month Mead burying an acrobatic effort on 64 minutes, just seconds after coming on.

Chelsea ace Bethany England got the second after getting a touch on Hemp’s chip in the 72nd minute.

Red-hot Mead smashed home her second at the back post two minutes after England’s effort before securing her hat-trick on 78 minutes.

Read our Football news live blog for the very latest rumours, gossip and done deals

The Gunners ace latched on to a rebounded ball after Irish keeper Jackie Burns’ save from England to wrap up the victory.

Boss Wiegman said: “The players that came on made the difference . . . I think it was Beth’s first touch — and it wasn’t an easy one from the corner.

“These are hard games because they are defending all the time. We just had to stay really patient.”


    Source: Read Full Article