The Three Lions went 1-0 down through a Gregorius goal in the first half, but a second-half comeback keeps alive their hopes of making the quarter-finals of the Women's World Cup
Sarah Gregorius gave New Zealand the lead in the first half after poor defending from Hope Powell’s side, before Jill Scott’s well-placed header and a late Jess Clarke goal secured the three points.
England made just one change from Monday’s 1-1 draw against Mexico, with Ellen White replacing Karen Carney to play as a lone striker, which meant Eniola Aluko switched to the right wing, while New Zealand were unchanged from their defeat to Japan.
Ellen White had the first major chance of the game, but she was caught in two minds after receiving the ball 25 yards out and was only able to win a corner off Abby Erceg.
Despite having the better of the opening exchanges, poor marking from England gifted New Zealand the lead. Faye White was unable to deal with a long ball down the left, allowing Amber Hearn to drill an inviting cross into the area for Gregorius to capitalise on sloppy defending from Rachel Unitt and Casey Stoney to tap home.
After having an earlier shot saved by Jenny Bindon, Fara Williams went close to finding an equaliser by firing just wide of the far post from 25 yards out. Aluko then set up Yankey after good work on the edge of the area, but she could only curl her fierce strike wide of the target.
New Zealand could have scored a second before half-time after more poor defending from England. Stoney failed to get the ball under control outside her own area, but as Gregorius shaped to shoot, Unitt got back to put in an inch-perfect challenge.
After seeing New Zealand dominate at the end of the first half, England boss Powell brought on Carney for Aluko, who had called her critics ‘poisonous’ in the build-up to the match, at half-time.
But it was New Zealand who began the second half the brighter of the two sides, with Hearn looping a header just over the bar after uncertain England defending.
Despite failing to create much after the break, Powell’s side equalised on the hour-mark, with Jill Scott powering a header into the far corner and out of the reach of the goalkeeper following a right-wing cross from Alex Scott.
Rosie White had been on the pitch for just a minute before nearly putting New Zealand back in front, but she was unable to get the ball under control in a promising position inside the area.
But they were made to pay for failing to put their chances away, as substitute Clarke fired home after confusion in the New Zealand defence following Unitt’s high cross into the area.
England held on to secure the three points, meaning they need just a draw against Japan to make it through to the quarter-finals.