England slipped to a shock 1-0 defeat to New Zealand at the Amex today in their final game before the Women’s World Cup.

Sarah Gregorius got the goal after 50 minutes to stun a crowd of 20,076 at Albion’s home.

It came against the run of play but a loss was not the send-off manager Phil Neville had hoped for after speaking about keeping the winning momentum going ahead of the clash.

New Zealand are ranked 19th in the world, one place ahead of Scotland, England’s opening opponents next Sunday in France.

England had plenty of possession but failed to make it count.

The Lionesses dominated the first-half chances, spurning inside the first 15 minutes to forge an early lead.

Striker Jodie Taylor was played in after nine minutes but Ferns keeper Erin Nayler was able to smother at her feet after a poor first touch, although England may have had claims for a penalty before the ball was scrambled away.

Taylor was gifted an even better chance after 15 minutes when Rosie White’s suicidal backpass played her in but Nayler was quickly off her line to produced an excellent save.

Despite dominating possession, England almost fell behind before the break from New Zealand’s first shot on target.

The Lionesses were unable to clear as the ball pin-balled around the edge of their area. It finally fell to Betsy Hassett but her fierce strike was superbly tipped over by the previously untested Carly Telford.

New Zealand did take the lead five minutes into the second half when Gregorius finished from inside the six yard box after Telford was unable to hold a shot from Rosie White.

The goal sparked England to up the tempo and they again dominated the possession.

But they were unable to find a breakthrough with substitute Karen Carney going close after some neat interplay saw her run onto a pass but fire straight at Nayler, who got her angles right to cover her near post.

Neville is sure to make a host of changes for the opening game and the England players were given an ovation as they thanked the crowd after the game.