Houghton the history maker for Team GB
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Steph Houghton's second-half free-kick gave Great Britain a 1-0 win over New Zealand in their first-ever competitive match as the 2012 Olympics got underway in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. In front of a large crowd, the 24-year-old's superb curler gave the hosts a win that puts them on track for a place in the last eight of the 12-team competition.

Of almost equal importance, it maintained the feel-good factor sweeping around the country ahead of Friday's Opening Ceremony.

For Durham-born Houghton it was fitting reward for the courage she showed to battle back from the disappointment of missing both the FIFA Women's World Cup China 2007™ and 2009 UEFA Women's European Championship through injury.

For the first 15 minutes, Team GB found themselves on the back foot against a New Zealand side that extended their opponents' defensive capabilities, with Hannah Wilkinson a particular danger.

That opening period was halfway through before Powell's side managed their first effort on goal, a curling Houghton free-kick which was pushed away by Jenny Bindon. It was a foretaste of what was to come.

With Arsenal's Alex Scott starting to make her presence felt with regular forays forward from right-back, Great Britain began to get on top. Scott failed to make the most of a decent chance after she had skipped into the box, and Anita Asante was also off target with a couple of headers.

Asante went closest to breaking the deadlock with a move that took place almost in slow motion as Eniola Aluko's cross dropped to the far post. There seemed little conviction in Asante's header. The direction was good though, with Bindon out of position and thankfully for New Zealand the post came to her rescue.

Great Britain continued to create chances following the introduction of Ellen White at half-time, but as time ticked on, it added to the hosts' frustrations and brought a fear their superiority was not going to be rewarded.

To the Cardiff crowd's delight, however, Houghton expertly directed a 25-yard set-piece into the bottom corner in the 64th minute, with Bindon nowhere.

The cheers of delight were almost equalled by those of relief when a mix-up between Scott and Dieke sent Sarah Gregorious clean through. Gregorious panicked though, and rolled an attempt straight to Karen Bardsley. The Linkoping goalkeeper was called on again nine minutes from time, when she tipped an Amber Hearn shot over acrobatically.

Great Britain were not to be denied, though, as they secured a win that will be acknowledged far beyond the Welsh capital.