England suffer Australia defeat

Ellie Watton against Australia 2014

Australia 2 (1)
Jodie Kenny 6, 55 (PC, PC)

England 1 (0)
Ellie Watton 45 (FG)

England went down 2–1 to Australia in their opening match of the Champions Trophy at the Estadio Mendocino de Hockey, Mendoza, in a closely fought encounter. A brace from Jodie Kenny was enough for a Hockeyroos victory, despite Ellie Watton’s second half strike.

The Australian side got off to a quick start, putting early pressure on the England defence. They were soon rewarded for their efforts when Kenny’s sixth minute drag flick was fired between Kirsty Mackay and Laura Unsworth on the goal line.
England suffered a blow in the seventh minute when Alex Danson was taken to hospital after colliding with Anna Flanagan. Despite the setback of losing their captain, England soon settled into the game, with the midfielders and fowards linking well, particularly down the right hand side of the pitch. However, the Australian defence held firm and went into the half time break 1–0 up.

England enjoyed a good spell in the ascendancy in the second half and made their pressure count when Watton equalised in the 45th minute.  A fantastic pass from Clifton's Joie Leigh found the St Albans striker unmakred in the Australian circle. Despite goalkeeper Ashlee Wells closing her down quickly, Watton squeezed her shot through the goalkeeper's legs to leave the score finely poised at 1 – 1.

In a tense final quarter, it was Australia who grabbed a late winner from a penalty corner.  The ball was trapped by Emily Smith and yet again, Kenny stepped up to convert from the top of the circle, rifling the ball low past Mackay’s outstretched stick. 

Despite losing 2–1, England’s Head Coach Danny Kerry was pleased with his team’s level of performance:

“We felt we had the balance of play in the second half but you have to credit Australia for converting their corners. I thought the young players did well and I am pleased at the progress we have made over the past three months.”

England face Germany on Sunday at 19.30 (GMT) in their second Pool B fixture. You can watch the game live on Sky Sports Three.

If you want to get to closer to the action, why not purchase tickets to the EuroHockey 2015 Championships, where both England and their next Champions Trophy opponents Germany will be competing. It’s taking place at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre next August and tickets are on sale now! Click
here to make your booking.