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Hockey - 21. July 2018.

England battle back to draw Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup opener with India

A late strike from Lily Owsley saw England come from behind to grab a point in their Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup opener with India.


 

Neha Goyal gave India the lead in the first half but England battled hard and scored a late equaliser with six minutes remaining.


A huge crowd of 10,500 filled the Lee Valley and Hockey Tennis Centre and provided an incredible atmosphere for the opening session of the tournament.

Next up for England are the USA as they continue their campaign in pool B on Wednesday night in front of another bumper crowd.

Speaking after the game head coach Danny Kerry said: "I think as we are competitive people we can become fixated with the result and we are probably disappointed with it but focusing on the level of performance particularly in that second half we absolutely dominated and I can't ask for more.

"We will look hard at the detail around our penalty corners which were the difference today. We had nine they had none. The atmosphere was amazing, you could really feel the crowd getting being us in that second half."

The hosts flew out the traps and won a penalty corner inside the first minute after good work from Ellie Watton. Giselle Ansley’s low flick was well saved to stop England from taking an early lead.

India responded and midway through the first quarter had their first effort of the game but Maddie Hinch was able to kick away the effort with relative ease. The sides entered the first break level.

A flurry of penalty corners saw England begin to dominate the contest in the second quarter. However the hosts found Savita in fine form, twice denying Grace Balsdon and also an effort from Suzy Petty on the left-hand post.

Against the run of play India took the lead through Neha Goyal. A cross was crashed into the circle and somehow found its way through several players where Goyal was waiting to tuck home on the back post and give India the lead at half-time.

England came out fighting early in the second half playing with more assertion putting pressure on the Indian defensive line. Plenty of circle entries followed but no clear cut chances until the 42nd minute.

Susannah Townsend got the ball down the left and a powerful run saw her break into the circle, her cut back made it to Sophie Bray but her effort on the backhand couldn’t find the target and India took their lead into the final 15 minutes.

It was a courageous effort from England who threw everything at India and with eight minutes remaining opted for a kicking back. The gamble paid off as from another penalty corner England levelled.

Ansley flicked at goal before a brilliant tackle from Sarah Haycroft allowed Watton to cross to Owsley who turned home from close range to spark loud celebrations.

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