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Beth present in ages as Mead goal gifts England win in Portugal

Morale booster: Mead (right) celebrates her goal with substitute Taylor PICTURE: GETTY

Portugal 0-1 England

BETH MEAD was gifted the only goal as England’s women’s team secured their first victory in six matches with a 1-0 friendly win in Portugal.

Arsenal forward Mead pounced on a howler from goalkeeper Patricia Morais midway through the second half to ease the pressure on boss Phil Neville.

The Lionesses survived a stoppage-time scare when Claudia Neto’s free-kick hit the crossbar but they held on for a confidence-boosting win.

England reached the World Cup semi-finals in the summer but defeat to the United States sparked a run of five winless games. They lost their third-place play-off to Sweden and three friendlies resulted in defeats by Norway and Brazil — in Middlesbrough on Saturday — and a draw with Belgium.

Relieved: England boss Neville PICTURE: EPA

Neville made four changes to the side that started against Brazil but England seemed short of confidence for much of the game. Jodie Taylor and Jordan Nobbs were sent on with 23 minutes left and helped to kick-start the team.

They broke the deadlock when Alex Greenwood’s cross floated too close to Morais but as she attempted to make the catch, the ball slipped through her grasp and dropped for Mead to score.

Nikita Parris headed narrowly wide soon after before Portugal almost snatched an equaliser in added time.

Neto’s brilliant free-kick came back off the underside of the crossbar and bounced off the back of Ellie Roebuck before the keeper gathered the ball.

17 — Year-old Harvey Neville, son of Lionesses boss and ex-England defender Phil, has been called up by Republic of Ireland Under-19s for their friendly double-header against Denmark. Neville Jr qualifies through his mother Julie’s family