Scots play their part as GB get back on the pitch
Scots featured heavily in GB’s matches against Germany with Sarah Robertson scoring on her 150th Scotland and GB cap; Alan Forsyth featuring for GB men; and umpires Sarah Wilson and Martin Madden on duty at the matches.
Great Britain’s women’s first FIH Hockey Pro League match since November 2020 ended in defeat as Charlotte Stapenhorst’s strike three minutes from full-time condemned the team to a loss.
Sarah Robertson had opened the scoring on her 150th international appearance, whilst Susannah Townsend also got on the score board for GB.
However, two unanswered goals from Germany ensured they would take the spoils in GB’s first match on home soil since the 2019 FIH Olympic Qualifiers.
GB got off to a fantastic start, Shona McCallin’s searing run into the circle enabled Ellie Rayer to deliver the ball to the perfectly positioned Robertson to prod home from close range to open the scoring.
The lead wouldn’t last long though as Germany responded less than five minutes later courtesy of a penalty corner. With the initial slap well saved by Maddie Hinch in the GB goal, Jette Fleschutz was lurking and latched onto the rebound to put Germany on the score board.
Both sides were looking very evenly matched as the half wore on with neither allowing the other many clear-cut chances. Neither side was giving the other an inch as the scores remained level heading into the half-time break.
Much like the first-half, GB flew out of the blocks after the restart with another early goal. This time Susannah Townsend found herself with time and space inside the circle to shoot on goal and give GB the upper hand.
It wasn’t to last as Lena Micheel produced a moment of magic. With excellent close control, Micheel fired from the edge of the circle, her shot rocketing into the far corner of the goal to level the scores.
Both sides were working hard to take the lead and conjured several meaningful chances. The first fell to Robertson who couldn’t quite control a challenging aerial into the circle.
Izzy Petter come agonisingly close as her deflection from a penalty corner went just over the crossbar. Germany had their chances too, Maddie Hinch being called into action several times as the visitors ramped up the pressure.
Their efforts paid dividends as Germany found the all-important break-through just three minutes from time as Stapenhorst’s late drive secured the three points.
After the match, Sarah Robertson commented: “Despite the result, it feels amazing to be back out here. I think it was around 18 months ago we were last here for the Olympic Qualifiers against Chile, so it felt amazing to be back, although we’re disappointed with the result.
“They had a lot of ball, we need to go away and have a look at how we can get a bit more pressure on them. They’re obviously renown for keeping the ball for long periods of time, I think it was a competitive, physical game. We just need to be better, we’ve got another match tomorrow night so we’ll go away and look to come back better then.
“We’ll be using the ice baths, recovering, and looking over some video footage before going again tomorrow night.
“Germany are a team we should be beating, they’ve obviously got some world class forwards and that showed tonight, but I think we can definitely up our game
“It’s awesome to pick up my 150th international appearance, it seems that only recently I got my 50th for GB and soon the 100th will come for Scotland so it all seems to be happening at once! It’s nice to have scored on both of them too, keep the milestones coming and the goals might keep coming too! It’s a special occasion, it means a lot to me to play for Scotland and GB so it’s a memorable might even if we didn’t get the result.”
Scotland’s Alan Forsyth played his part as Great Britain’s men impressed in their first FIH Hockey Pro League match of the year as they defeated Germany 5-3 in a gripping encounter at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.
Liam Ansell, Brendan Creed, Phil Roper and Chris Griffiths all found the net in a relentless first-half that ended with seven goals and GB holding a slender advantage.
Though the goals didn’t flow as regularly in the second-half, with Harry Martin’s solitary strike proving the difference maker, the excitement didn’t end there with both sides creating plenty of chances.
After a long-awaited return for international hockey in the UK, the action came thick and fast right from the off. In a lightning fast start, Germany took an immediate lead through Moritz Rothlander to mark a perfect start for the visitors.
The lead didn’t last long though as Ansell, who had put in fantastic work to earn a penalty corner just a minute prior, levelled the scores with a skilful finish.
One goal was quickly followed by another, a constant theme through the match, as Brendan Creed latched onto a loose ball following a scramble in the circle from a penalty corner, sparking jubilant celebrations from the defender in scoring his first international goal.
Three goals in the space of just four minutes followed, Roper commencing the frenzy with a brilliant drag flick before Thies Prinz responded straight from the restart to capitalise on a rapid attack. Griffiths ensured GB would maintain their two-goal cushion with a sublime solo goal after pinching the ball high up the field and producing a tidy finish to make it 4-2 to the hosts.
That wouldn’t be the last of the scoring in the half, Paul Doesch converting with a powerful effort from a penalty corner just before the whistle sounded to end a frantic half.
The excitement didn’t end with the first-half though. Dixon’s effort from a penalty corner was expertly deflected by the diving Martin to divert the ball past the German ‘keeper just two minutes after the restart.
Whilst the goals dried up, the energy certainly didn’t. First, terrific interplay between Forsyth and Ansell saw the latter released downfield, he beat the defender with pace but couldn’t get past the ‘keeper on the reverse.
Sam Ward and Roper also came close to adding to the score line but couldn’t find their way past the German ‘keeper.
At the other end, Payne put in another masterful performance with brilliant blocks on several occasions, the best of which coming in the final minutes of the match. With Germany trailing by two goals, the visitors removed their goalkeeper for an extra outfielder and quickly accumulated a couple of penalty corners only to be thwarted on both occasions by the young goalkeeper.
Despite several chances falling their way at the end, GB secured an impressive win on their first home match since the 2019 FIH Olympic Qualifiers with a 5-3 victory in a memorable occasion.
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