Superb England put eight past Pakistan

Brogdon and Griffiths celebrate scoring against Pak at the CT2014

After seeing off Australia yesterday England were in scintillating form again tonight in India as they tore through Pakistan, scoring eight times. The damage was done across 11 minutes of play as Mark Gleghorne, Nick Catlin, David Condon, Barry Middleton and Ashley Jackson converted chances to take their team into the break five goals up. Head Coach Bobby Crutchley’s side showed no signs of letting their foot off the gas in the second half as Sam Ward, Alastair Brogdon and Chris Griffiths added their names to the score sheet to take the goal tally to eight. Pakistan did pull two goals back in the closing stages, but the game was already over and the result leaves England top of Pool A, two points clear of Belgium who had drawn 4-4 with Australia in the first match of the day.

England 8 (5)
Mark Gleghorne (15) (FG)
Nick Catlin 17 (FG)
David Condon 19 (FG)
Barry Middleton 24 (FG)
Ashley Jackson 26 (PC)
Sam Ward 45 (FG)
Alastair Brogdon 48 (FG)
Chris Griffiths 59 (FG) 

Pakistan 2 (0)
Muhammad Arslan Qadir 57 (FG)
Muhammad Irfan 60 (PC)

England immediately asserted their authority over their opponents in the opening quarter with Barry Middleton’s aerial cross almost setting up Reading’s Tom Carson in the opening moments. Despite dominating the play it took England until the end of the first quarter to break the deadlock. Holcombe’s Nick Catlin played in Alastair Brogdon on the left of the circle and his cross was turned in by Mark Gleghorne. The goal was initially ruled out as the umpire thought it had struck the No14’s body but on video referral the goal was given.

England struck again early in the second quarter, this time Catlin was given space to break into the circle, firing his shot through the legs of goalkeeper Imran Butt to make it 2-0. Two minutes later it was 3-0, as Pakistan struggled to cope with the pace and movement of Bobby Crutchley’s side. Beeston’s Tim Whiteman played a pass into the unmarked David Condon who supplied the finish for 3-0. Middleton’s cross-shot found its way in via the goalkeeper’s pads to make it 4-0. With four minutes to go until the break England won a penalty corner which Ashley Jackson converted with a minimum of fuss to make it 5-0. Gleghorne was kept out by a good save from Butt from another corner and it remained 5-0 at the break.

Pakistan started strongly in the third quarter but were kept at bay by some excellent defending from Iain Lewers who did well to block their forays into the England circle. With 30 seconds left in the quarter England made it 6-0. Adam Dixon took a sideline ball and drove all the way along the baseline one handed, cutting the ball back for a diving Sam Ward to score his third goal in two games for England.

Ali Shan went close at the start of the final quarter but his effort was smothered by Paddy Smith in goal. England broke immediately, Chris Griffiths crossed for Alastair Brogdon to slap in the seventh. Smith was called upon to keep out another Pakistan attack but with 57 minutes gone there was nothing he could do to keep out Muhammed Artslan Qadir’s deflection, making it 7-1. England made it eight just two minutes later. Griffiths drove across the circle and slotted a lovely reverse stick finish in for his first goal for England and although Pakistan scored their second on the stroke of full time through Muhammed Irfan it was England’s day.

Quotes – England Head Coach Bobby Crutchley

On the performance: “We’re really pleased with the result and I thought we controlled the game, which is what we wanted to try and do. When our goals came it took the game away from them [Pakistan] and we were able to dominate possession and play the way we wanted.”

On facing Belgium: “Tuesday will be a completely different challenge against Belgium; they play a very different style of hockey to Pakistan. We have played each other fairly regularly over the last couple of years so we know each other well and what each side is capable of and we know how strong they are. For us, it’s about continuing to build our performances across the week so we are in our best form for the knock out stages and the business end of the tournament.”

On the new comers [Chris Griffiths, Sam Ward]: “This is a really good opportunity for the new players to experience top level tournament hockey and it’s great that the team has been performing well so far.”

Quotes – England Midfielder and Man of the Match Nick Catlin

On the performance: “It was an excellent team performance today. It can often look easy when the score is like that but we worked incredibly hard, we moved the ball well and it was a good display. We didn’t want to take our foot off the gas in the second half. We wanted to play the same way and put them to the sword.”

About his role in the team: “We’re playing some good hockey at the moment which allows me to play how I play. It’s all about the team, not individuals, though.”

About facing Belgium: “We look to win every match we play and Belgium will be no different. We’re looking forward to the challenge. It’s the top eight teams in the world so every team has the quality on their day to win. We’ve started well but we have to keep going.”

With a rest day tomorrow England will be back in action on Tuesday as they take on European rivals Belgium at 8:30am [UK time]. The game will be live on Sky Sports.

Enjoyed seeing England in such great form? Why not see them in the flesh when they come to London's Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre for next summer's EuroHockey Championships. All the details, including how to buy tickets, are here.