England's Lionesses secured a 2-0 win over Denmark in their penultimate friendly match of the summer, two weeks ahead of their opening game at the World Cup in France.
Phil Neville's rotated side found themselves under some early pressure at Walsall's Bescot Stadium, with Denmark overcrowding goalkeeper Karen Bardsley from set pieces, while only a block from Jade Moore kept the visitors from finding the back of the net inside the opening 15 minutes.
Chances were at a premium for England, but Ellen White found herself in a one on one with Katrine Abel after racing onto the end of a sublime through ball from Jill Scott, only to see her dinked effort fall just the wrong side of the post.
Manchester City prodigy Georgia Stanway and defender Demi Stokes both saw shots from the edge of the area narrowly miss the target but, despite England's pressure, it was Denmark who had the ball in the back of the net first.
The Lionesses' defence fell asleep and allowed an unmarked Signe Bruun to bundle the ball over the line at the back post, but the match officials chalked it off for handball which at second viewing seemed to be a harsh call.
That decision spurred Neville's side into action and Nikita Parris broke the deadlock with the last kick of the half, firing a half-volley inside the near post to give England the advantage heading into the break.
It didn't take long after the restart for England to double their lead either, with Stanway and Beth Mead combining on the edge of the box before the Arsenal star put the ball on a plate for Jill Scott to head the ball into the back of the net.
Chances kept coming England's way but they weren't able to put the icing on the cake on Saturday, although keeping their first clean sheet since March will prove to be a major plus point for Phil Neville.
Key Talking Point
Considering what fans have come to expect from the Lionesses in 2019, their first-half performance left a lot to be desired.
Neville's side were often narrow in attacking areas and struggled to create too many clear cut chances, while at the back they needed to ride their luck at times to avoid conceding the opening goal.
Things improved after the break and the Lionesses looked like they could score every time they were in possession, but in the end, it was a flattering scoreline and some hard work will need to be put in on the training ground ahead of the World Cup.
Bardsley (7), Daly (6), Williamson (8), Bright (6), Stokes (7); Scott (9), Moore (7), Stanway (7); Parris (9*), White (7), Mead (8).
Substitutes: Kirby (6), Carney (6), Staniforth (6).
Star Player - Nikita Parris
It wasn't a vintage England performance, but Nikita Parris' pace down both flanks left Denmark helpless to stop the Lionesses getting into dangerous areas.
Her brilliant strike on the stroke of half-time gave England the boost they needed, and Neville's side came out after the break with a swagger in their step.
Lionesses nowhere near their best but that’s a huge goal from Nikita Parris. Such a top player.— Leanne Prescott (@_lfcleanne) May 25, 2019
Nikita Parris set to 💥 this summer. 💫— Sarah Shephard (@SarahShepSport) May 25, 2019
With a game next week, it was no surprise that Parris was brought off the pitch as soon as the Lionesses doubled their lead, but Neville will be hoping that he won't need to rely on the 25-year-old's individual quality against New Zealand next week to get England out of second gear.
Abel (6), Sevecke (7), Pedersen (6), Arnth (5), Svava (7); Sørensen (7), Troelsgaard Nielsen (6), Junge Pedersen (6), Snerle (6); Bruun (7), Harder (8*).
Substitutes: Gejl (6), Madsen (7), Thøgersen (6), Petersson (6).
England have one more friendly against New Zealand before kicking off against Scotland at Nice's Allianz Riviera at the World Cup in two weeks.