England women victorious in first game

ILC 2014 eng 450

England women put eight goals past Wales on the opening day of the Investec London Cup. The match was the teams' first ever game at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre and ended 8-0.

England 8 (0)
Alex Danson 2 60 (FG FG)
Sophie Bray 10 (FG)
Susannah Townsend 25 (FG)
Laura Unsworth 29 (FG)
Ellie Watton 53 (FG)
Kate Richardson-Walsh 57 (PC)
Giselle Ansley 67 (PC)

Wales 0 (0)

England’s first match at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre sees them soundly defeat Wales with four goals either side of the break.

In front of the enthusiastic support of local schools and clubs, there was a vibrant atmosphere for England, with the bright blue pitch bringing back memories of the 2012 Olympics, on England’s return to the Olympic Park.

Within the first two minutes England opened the scoring thanks to a goal from Alex Danson, scored after England piled on immediate pressure with shots from Nicola White and Susannah Townsend. Less than ten minutes later England increased their lead as Lily Owsley ran the ball along the baseline to find Sophie Bray waiting at the goal for an easy tap in.

England remained the stronger side throughout the half. Wales’ best opportunity came from a series of four penalty corners just over 20 minutes in, as the ball continued to find England’s onrushing defenders’ feet, but the final hit was well saved by Maddie Hinch and the ball was in England’s possession again. A few minutes later and a mis-trapped aerial reached Susannah Townsend at the top of the Welsh circle, who sent it straight into the right corner out of reach of the Welsh goalkeeper Ria Male. England were able to add one more to their first-half tally through a deflection by Laura Unsworth, and though two penalty corners followed for England the score stayed 4-0 going into the break.

It took just eight minutes for England to start scoring again in the second half, as Bray fired in a shot which found Ellie Watton for the deflection. A minute later and England won their own series of four penalty corners in a row, ending with England Captain Kate Richardson-Walsh’s drag flick bounced over the Welsh keeper and into the goal.

Danson scored her second with ten minutes left on the clock as she caught an aerial down the side of the pitch, beating three Welsh defenders as she made her way across their circle, to finish with a reverse-stick shot to the keeper’s right. England’s eighth and final  goal came from the last penalty corner of the game, as Giselle Ansley’s accurate drag-flick was sent low and to the keeper’s left. 

A last-minute green card for Nicola White wasn’t enough to slow England down, and the final whistle blew giving them an 8-0 victory and a fantastic start to their Investec London Cup campaign.

England captain Kate Richardson-Walsh spoke after the match; "I don't remember the last time we scored 8 goals. We're really pleased - it's been a tough few weeks so we were keen to show we have fight and we've done that."

Debutante Lucy Wood added; "It's an honour to make my debut here, the stadium and the support is amazing."