Belgium defeat for battling England Men

20140518-England v Belgium - Mark Gleghorne - 450

Belgium 3 (1)
Sebastien Dockier 17 (FG)
John-John Domen 48 (FG)
FLorent van Aubel 63 (PC)

England 2 (1)
Iain Lewers 17 (PC)
Ashley Jackson 68 (PC)

ENGLAND Men narrowly lost out 3-2 to Belgium in their final match of the Four Nations Tournament in Germany, but enjoyed spells of good pressure in the match in Dusseldorf on Sunday.

Iain Lewers’ first half goal and Ashley Jackson’s strike late in the game came after England had worked hard to create good pressure on the Belgians, but too many chances went begging.

“It was a game of contrast with plenty of good signs but also some disappointment,” said Head Coach Bobby Crutchley. “We didn’t utilise good circle possession to create clear goal scoring opportunities and our reactions were slow in front of goal.

“We were also hampered by playing without Harry Martin and losing Dan Shingles very early on in the game.”

Martin had felt a tightness in his hamstring during Saturday’s match against Germany so was rested for the Belgium game as a precaution, while Shingles received a cut to his wrist from a Belgian stick early in the game and took no further part.

Click here to see squad and caps information and to see the other results at the tournament.

England drew first blood after 17 minutes in what proved to be an evenly matched first half. A penalty corner was re-awarded four times before, finally, a slip from Jackson was glanced goalward by Lewers.

But England were caught napping seconds later, as Belgium went straight up the other end and, from a shot from outside the circle, the ball was deflected into the roof of the net by Sebastien Dockier, leaving England goalkeeper George Pinner with no chance.

England continued to create good circle possession, but paid the price for their failure to add more goals when Belgium took the lead on 48 minutes through John-John Dohman.

Belgium went 3-1 up on 63 minutes from their third penalty corner, Florent van Aubel getting the crucial touch, but England battled on and piled pressure on their rivals.

They halved the deficit on 68 minutes with Jackson scoring high into the net, and they continued to push hard for an equaliser, leaving Belgium defending desperately for the last few minutes.

If you want to watch England men and women play LIVE on home turf this summer, tickets are now on sale for the Investec London Cup at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in July.