Honours even between Great Britain and Argentina

Ashley Jackson in action for Great Britain 2015

Ashley Jackson 60 (PC)

Lucas Vila 54 (PC)

Ashley Jackson’s late penalty corner rescued a draw for Bobby Crutchley’s side in the first of a two-test series against Argentina. Despite dominating the game and creating the better of the chances, Great Britain fell behind to a Lucas Vila strike from a penalty corner rebound, which looked like it might settle the game until Jackson’s late intervention.

Great Britain had the better of the opening quarter with Sam Ward and Chris Griffiths both looking lively. Argentina set up to defend deep and hit their hosts on the break, a tactic that ensured Crutchley’s men had the lion’s share of the possession. David Condon went closest in the opening quarter but he couldn’t get a touch on Griffiths’ pass to divert it into the goal.

The second quarter followed the same pattern. Manuel Brunet cleared a Jackson penalty corner off the line brilliantly whilst in a rare foray forwards, Gonzalo Peillat fired a penalty corner wide at the other end.

Great Britain came out strongly in the third quarter but found goalkeeper Juan Vivaldi in superb form. He saw off a number of penalty corners from Jackson, before making a superb sprawling save to deny Ian Sloan a goal on his debut.

Vivaldi did well to get a block on an effort from David Ames in the fourth quarter and then stretched out a left foot to repel a low shot from Ward after the No13 had escaped his marker with a neat turn. With six minutes to play, Argentina took the lead against the run of play. Nicolas Della Torre’s penalty corner was saved by Paddy Smith but Vila was on hand to lash the rebound into the roof of the net.

Vivaldi continued to defy Great Britain with another good save from Jackson and then a great reaction stop to keep out Iain Lewers. With the clock ticking over to 60 minutes, Jackson finally got the better of the goalkeeper with a precise flick into the net to make it 1-1 at the final whistle.

Great Britain Head Coach – Bobby Crutchley

On the performance: “We dominated for long periods, which was pleasing but it's frustrating we didn’t win the game as we had significantly more chances.”

On the challenges presented by Argentina: “They're a very tenacious side with a good goalkeeper and a good defence. They often find a way to win which they almost did today. They’re a really hard side to play against. Even if you dominate like we did today, they find a way to make it difficult for you. We have to take our chances when we get them but we didn't do that today. They're a good side to play against as preparation. They are excellent at varying their tempo and it gives the players different challenges tactically and mentally.”

On the debutants, Ian Sloan and David Ames: “They give us more depth to the group which is great. They both played well and I’m really pleased with them. They’ve trained with us for a while now and both settled in nicely, so it's great for them to get their first caps.”

For squad information including caps and starting lineups click here.

If you'd like to see Bobby Crutchley's team in action first hand, why not head to Lee Valley hockey and Tennis Centre on 13 June when they will face the might of World Champions and old foes Australia. For all the details, including how to buy tickets, click here.