Jessica Holbrook's strike in the 79th minute was enough to give the Young Lionesses a somewhat fortunate victory over Nigeria, who could not make their territorial dominance count in Wellington. England now look almost certain to progress from Group D.
Nigeria dominated the early stages with their admirable fluidity and crisp ball control, but without reward. An England back-header was headed against her own bar by Jordan Nobbs on seven minutes, and two minutes later Ngozi Okobi just failed to capitalise on Ebere Orji's excellent right-wing run and cross. At the other end, Rebecca Jane's 20-metre chip was turned onto the bar by Nigerian keeper Marbel Egwuenu.
On 32 minutes, Orji was clean through on goal but took too long over her shot, and the Nigerian frustration continued when Desire Oparanozie's close-range header flew wide just before half-time.
Nigeria continued to dominate well into the second half, and twice in the early minutes Lauren Davey saved well from substitute Amarachi Okoronkwo. Yet it was England who took the lead, when a long throw in the 79th minute was flicked on to Jessica Holbrook, who finished well with her right foot. It proved enough, as the Young Lionesses stepped up their game towards the close.