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Sports Bulletin

Hockey22 May 2021
FIH Hockey Pro League: Great Britain power to 5-1 victory against USA

SPORTS DESK

ISLAMABAD (May 22, 2021):-A comprehensive 5-1 victory over the USA means Great Britain have moved to fifth in the FIH Hockey Pro League with a 51 per cent win rate. The USA remained in ninth position, with one match left to play [against Great Britain].

Great Britain women started strongly as they sought to impose themselves early on an USA team still smarting from their double defeat at the hands of Belgium the previous weekend.

A driving run by Lily Owsley in the opening minute won her team a penalty corner but Kelsey Bing, in the USA goal, was alert to the danger. The next 14 minutes followed a similar pattern, with the Great Britain midfield and attackers probing and pushing for a breakthrough. That breakthrough eventually came in the 15th minute. The USA gave away possession in the centre of the pitch to Lily Owsley. She slipped an unselfish pass to Isabelle Petter, who shot home past Bing.

Prior to that, there had been some promising signs for the Great Britain team that players were finding their connections as Susannah Townsend, Sarah Jones and Owsley all combined well to create a number of chances.

Despite some spirited defending and some strong individual runs from the hard-working USA players, it was Great Britain who scored the second goal. It was Petter again who found the back of the net. It was a goal that had been coming: the Great Britain midfield were finding their connections with increasing regularity and creating all sorts of problems for their opponents. Petter’s second goal came from a penalty corner – Grace Balsdon’s strike was deflected by the midfielder past Bing.

In the second half, Great Britain began to turn the screw on their opponents, pressuring the goal and forcing the USA deeper into their defensive half. The pressure was rewarded when a pass from Player of the Match Fiona Crackles found Sarah Robertson, who was able to slot the ball home.

The fourth goal came from a penalty corner strike by Anna Toman. The initial shot was helped on its way by the outstretched stick of Nicole Woods.

The fifth goal came as the space opened up across the pitch as the USA went in search of a goal. Great Britain were able to take advantage of the gaps and Elena Rayer was on hand to shoot home after good build up play by Laura Unsworth and Sarah Jones.

The USA scored a consolation goal when Kelsey Briddell flicked the ball high past Hinch after a penalty corner shot rebounded freely into the circle.

While Great Britain will be pleased with the result, the fact that they had 23 shots, 10 penalty corners and 46 circle entries will be of concern to the Head Coach and his team. Speaking at half time, Head Coach Mark Hager had called on his players to make the most of the opportunities they were creating.

Player of the Match Fiona Crackles said: “We are just super happy to get so many goals. Normally we have a lot of near misses. We had real fire in our belly. We have been working hard on being ruthless.

"It's great seeing things that we are doing in training coming together in the matchplay."

Captain of the USA, Amanda Magadan: "Great Britain put out a good hockey performance but we gave a few things to them as well. It is good to be able to put the ball in the back of the net.

"Just being able to build on our game from Belgium. We need to take away the positives but also take the harder feedback to. Great Britain are one of the best in the world, so that is who we want to play."

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