Substitute Beth Mead scores hat trick in England win over Northern Ireland

Second half substitute Beth Mead scored a hat trick as England beat Northern Ireland 4-0 in their Women's World Cup qualifier at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

England were left frustrated by the crossbar in the first half with Nikita Parris, Lauren Hemp and Alex Greenwood all striking it in their hunt for an opening goal.

Jackie Burns in the Northern Ireland goal was kept busy as the home side pushed for an opener, having the most touches out of all her teammates.

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Northern Ireland, who went into half-time 3-0 down when the two sides met in February, were solid in defence and would have welcomed the 0-0 scoreline after the first 45 minutes.

Kenny Shiels' side came out in the second half with a renewed energy and nearly scored when Lauren Wade's cross into Caragh Hamilton scooted just inches past the winger who was positioned at the far post.

A double substitution from Sarina Wiegman just after the hour mark proved to be the magic England needed with Mead and Bethany England replacing Parris and Rachel Daly.

"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," Wiegman said.

"These are hard games because they are defending all the time. We had to stay patient."

Mead scored a minute after her introduction with her first touch as she volleyed a corner into Burns' net.

England added the second on 72 minutes as Hemp chipped a ball over Burns and the Chelsea forward tapped it into the net.

Two minutes later Mead got her second with Hemp once again assisting.

She got her hat trick on 74 minutes when England's deflected shot bounced her way.

"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," Mead said after the game.

"The manager said: 'Go out there and make a difference.' It has to be up there in my career. To score at hat trick for England at Wembley has to be up there for me and my family."

The game marked the Lionesses' first competitive match at Wembley. The side have three wins from three in their qualifying campaign, scoring 22 goals and conceding none.