England were unable to crown Mark Sampson’s 50th match as manager with a victory as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Italy at Vale Park.
Arsenal Ladies striker Jodie Taylor seemed to have set the Lionesses up for victory when she struck on 70 minutes but their lead was not to last long as Valentina Cernoia struck for the visitors.
However the match was to be marred by a serious injury to Italian midfielder Alice Parisi, who appeared to break her right leg in a challenge with Millie Bright on 30 minutes.
Chelsea Ladies’ Bright was not to blame for the injury on 30 minutes, the result of a 50-50 challenge, but Parisi required a stretcher and was taken to hospital.
England had had their chances to claim victory but their familiar struggles in front of goal – Sampson’s side have scored on twice in their first five games this year – came back to haunt them as Karen Carney, Jordan Nobbs and Taylor were denied.
It was to be the Arsenal pair who combined for the opener, Nobbs delivering a pass over the top of the Italy defence for Taylor to burst onto and drive home from outside the box.
However England’s lead was short-lived as three minutes later Cernoia found space to drill in a left-footed strike.
England were unable to find a winner, substitute Alex Greenwood wasting their best chance, and will now face Austria in Milton Keynes on Monday, their final home friendly before Euro 2017 kicks off in Holland this summer.