Great Britain ease through to Sunday’s final
03 May 2012
Great Britain faced China today on the second day of the Visa International Invitational Hockey Tournament. The Beijing Silver medalists had plenty to prove following a 3-0 defeat to Argentina yesterday.
Great Britain started brightly with a couple of half chances inside the first five minutes. By the sixth minute they had won their first penalty corner of the game which Crista Cullen stepped up to fire home a trademark penalty corner past Yimeng Zhang in China's goal to make it 1-0.
China made very few attacks during the first half and all the pressure was on their defence, which did well to keep Great Britain at bay as they created a string of chances to score. Reading's Alex Danson and Clifton's Georgie Twigg both won their side penalty corners but the chances were not converted.
On one of China's rare breaks forward they did win a penalty corner, but the shot was straight at Reading's Beth Storry who had not had much to do during the first 30 minutes. China challenged the umpire's decision to award a free hit to Great Britain and the challenge was overturned, ruling that Storry had pushed the ball forward. China set-up for another penalty corner which was again saved by Storry in goal. That was the last of the action in the first half and Great Britain went in 1-0 up.
On their return it took Great Britain just four minutes to earn their first penalty corner of the half, Helen Richardson using the video referral successfully after a Chinese defender blocked a shot on goal with her body. The corner resulted in another one being awarded which Crista Cullen once again fired at the goal, but this time Zhang was equal to the shot and saved well.
The game was played at a high tempo with three yellow and two green cards shown. Early in the second half Great Britain gained a one player advantage following a five minute enforce break for Sinan Sun only to be followed one minute later by Leicester's Anne Panter to even the play back up again.
Great Britain continued to push forward though and with 19 minutes to go they won another penalty corner which was again saved by Zhang who was having a good game. Seconds later Richardson made space for herself in the circle and hit a surging pass across the face of the goal, but the diving Laura Bartlett just couldn't get her stick to it.
Great Britain had a plethora of penalty corner decisions during the second half, three of which came in quick succession mid way through the half. The first was blocked and another awarded, the second was over turned following a great run into the circle by Bartlett and the third was again saved by Zhang.
In a rare break up the field China threatened the GB goal following a mistake in the circle by Reading's Emily Maguire, but Storry stood tall to foil China's attempts.
It was looking like it wouldn't be Great Britain's day with converting chances, but with just two minutes to go Richardson's good work in the circle was rewarded when her rebounded shot at goal came high in the air to University of Birmingham's Susie Gilbert who fired home a well deserved goal.
In a thrilling finish GB won three successive penalty corners, the last of which was finally converted. It was another goal for Cullen as she followed up her initial shot and hit it high into the netting for her second of the game to make it 3-0.
Speaking after the game GB head coach Danny Kerry said, "We had a very quick debrief following yesterday's game. We knew exactly what we needed to do and I think we did it today. I am still frustrated that we went into the break only one goal up after the number of chances we had but I am really pleased with the goals we did score, especially the second one because we have been doing a lot of work on that in training."
Great Britain captain, Kate Walsh, added,
"I think we started very positively today and dominated large parts of the game. We seemed to have more space to play in compared to yesterday and it was really good to see some of the work we do in training come off so successfully on the pitch."
Great Britain women's next game will take place on Saturday at 11:45 against Argentina.
After two days of competition Great Britain are top of the standings with six points and have guaranteed themselves a place in the final on Sunday at 12:15.
Visa International Invitational Hockey Tournament Fixtures & Results
Wednesday 2 May 2012
11:00 Argentina v China: 3-0
13:15 Great Britain v Korea: 1-0
Thursday 3 May 2012
11:00 Argentina v Korea: 0-0
13:15 China v Great Britain: 0-3
Saturday 5 May 2012
09:30 China v Korea
11:45 Great Britain v Argentina
Sunday 6 May 2012
09:30 Bronze medal match
Visa International Invitational Hockey Tournament Standings
Great Britain - 6 pts
Argentina - 4 pts
Korea - 1 pt
China - 0 pts
GREAT BRITAIN TEAM v CHINA
Beth Storry (Reading) [Goalkeeper]
Emily Maguire (Reading) [Defender]
Crista Cullen (Leicester) [Defender]
Kate Walsh (Reading) [Defender]
Anne Panter (Leicester) [Defender]
Chloe Rogers (Leicester) [Midfielder]
Laura Bartlett (Reading) [Midfielder]
Rebecca Herbert (Leicester) [Forward]
Ashleigh Ball (Slough) [Midfielder]
Nicola White (Slough) [Forward]
Sarah Thomas (No Club) [Forward]
Laura Unsworth (Reading) [Defender]
Susie Gilbert (University of Birmingham) [Midfielder]
Helen Richardson (Reading) [Midfielder]
Georgie Twigg (Clifton) [Midfielder/Forward]
Alex Danson (Reading) [Forward]
Did Not Play
Hannah Macleod (Leicester) [Midfielder]
Natalie Seymour (EuroCanterbury) [Defender]