Strong second half not enough for England U21 Men

England v Malaysia Harry Gibson saves 450

A STRONG second half performance was not enough for England Under-21 Men, who lost out 2-4 to group winners Malaysia in their final group match at the Hero Hockey Junior Men’s World Cup in New Delhi, India, on Monday.

England were industrious throughout and enjoyed 56 per cent of the possession, but their rivals proved more clinical with the ball that they got.

“It was an extremely disappointing result, and in the first half particularly we struggled,” said Head Coach Jon Bleby. “In the second half we competed very well, but in pushing forward for goals we got caught out at the other end.”

The Asian outfit took the lead after 15 minutes through Mohd Bin Hashim from a penalty corner, and they doubled their lead 11 minutes later with an attack down the inside right channel. The initial shot came off England goalkeeper Harry Gibson (pictured), but the rebound was pushed in by Firhan Ashari.

England pulled back a goal on 31 minutes with a good hard shot to the goalkeeper’s head side from Luke Taylor, and they prepared to step up their play after the break.

However, Malaysia were first to score in the second half, Muhammad Bin Baharam hitting home on 44 minutes from a scrappy melee in the circle which England failed to clear and left them 1-3 down.

Things got worse on 57 minutes with Fitri Saari scoring with a reverse stick shot that took Gibson by surprise.

Phil Roper pulled back a goal on 65 minutes from a penalty corner, and England took ‘keeper Gibson off in place of a kicking back as they desperately went in search of goals for the last three and a half minutes.

But Malaysia held firm to top the group, while England will face Egypt on Thursday in the minor places play-off, with a final match on Saturday.

Click here for the latest results and fixtures from the Hero Hockey Junior World Cup 2013

Hero Hockey Junior World Cup 2013

Pool A – Team Points
Belgium 6
Germany 3
Pakistan 3
Egypt 0

Pool B – Team Points
Australia 9
France 6
Argentina 3
Spain 0

Pool C – Team Points
Netherlands 6
Korea 3
India 3
Canada 0

Pool D – Team Points
Malaysia 9
New Zealand 4
South Africa 3
England 1

England Under-21 Men’s Squad v Malaysia

Started
Harry Gibson (GK) – Loughborough Students
Jonathan Griffiths – Loughborough Students
Jonathan Gall - Surbiton
Andrew Bull (capt) – East Grinstead
David Goodfield – Sheffield Hallam
James Albery – Cambridge City
Phil Roper - Wimbledon
Luke Taylor – East Grinstead
Chris Proctor – Beeston
James Gall - Surbiton
Joseph Sharp - Beeston

Substitutes used
Daniel Faulkner – Loughborough Students
Brendan Creed – Sheffield Hallam
Sam French – Univ of Birmingham
Robert Farrington – Loughborough Students
Nick Bandurak – Cannock

Did not play
Thomas Pinnegar - Univ of Birmingham
Arjan Drayton-Chana – Sheffield Hallam