Great Britain held by China in World League Pool game

Kate Richardson-Walsh in action for GB 480 x 290

Great Britain 1 (0)
Helen Richardson-Walsh 34 (PC)

China 1 (0)
Mengyu Wang 35 (PC)

Great Britain were left frustrated after being held to a 1-1 draw by China in their second World League final match. Helen Richardson-Walsh gave Danny Kerry’s side the lead only for Mengyu Wang to cancel the goal out a minute later, leaving both sides on one point in the pool after two games.

Great Britain almost made a dream start as Susannah Townsend burst through in the opening seconds of the match but Dongxiao Li made a sprawling save to deny her. Danny Kerry’s side enjoyed the lion’s share of the possession, stringing together long spells of passes but they found it hard to get through the massed ranks of the Chinese defence and remained goalless at quarter time.

Danny Kerry’s side started the second quarter brightly and Hollie Webb and Lily Owsley both created chances with runs down the baseline but Alex Danson couldn’t quite apply the finish. Great Britain won their first penalty corner of the match in the 25th minute. Kate Richardson-Walsh played the pass towards Townsend but Mengyu Wang was alert and cleared the danger. Georgie Twigg showed good power and pace to drive into the circle but her cross bounced agonizingly out of the reach of the waiting forwards. Townsend carried the ball from inside her own half and slid the ball into the path of Lily Owsley but the No26’s shot was parried away by Li and it was goalless at the break.

Li made another save early on in the third quarter, getting her gloves to a deflection to keep it level. Great Britain thought they’d won a penalty stroke after Danson’s shot had hit a defender but China asked for a referral claiming the ball had hit the striker’s body in the build up. The referral was upheld and the decision downgraded to a penalty corner. China defended two successive corners well but with a third awarded Kate Richardson-Walsh’s pass was deflected into the roof of the net by a diving Helen Richardson-Walsh to break the deadlock. The lead lasted a matter of moments as China won a penalty corner which was converted by Wang to level the scores. Yang Peng almost made it 2-1 with a driving run but she was thwarted by Maddie Hinch who blocked well at the near post. China showed a little more attacking intent in the third quarter but it was Great Britain who almost broke through when Helen Richardson-Walsh tried to play in Owsley who couldn’t quite collect the ball. It remained all square heading into the final 15 minutes.

Great Britain forced a penalty corner in the first minute of the final quarter but once again the corner defence from the Chinese was solid and the danger was cleared. Peng flashed a pass across the face of Hinch’s goal as China hunted a winning strike but there was no one there to turn it in. With five minutes remaining China were awarded a penalty corner and Great Britain referred the decision to the video umpire. The referral was upheld and the corner overturned. At other end China conceded a penalty corner but Kate Richardson-Walsh’s pass was cut out and the chance went begging. Great Britain came agonizingly close to a winner when Hannah Macleod beat Li only for the shot to seemingly come off Danson’s stick and away to safety. China were clinging on in the closing moments and GB were awarded another succession of penalty corners with a minute left. Danny Kerry’s team were unable to break through and the game finished even.

Great Britain are next in action against Australia on Tuesday 8 December at 1715 UK time

Danny Kerry, Great Britain Head Coach:

"I thought the Chinese goal was just jinxed, the ball just wouldn't go in tonight. A lot of those chances would normally have gone in. We needed just an element of luck.

Apart from a five minute period we absolutely controlled the game. China play a low risk defensive strategy and ironically the goal came when two of our players collided so we were a defender light. It was a game where we had lots of chances and given how deep China sat, it was always going to take a bit extra. I was proud of the team, they stuck at what we had to do and so on the whole I’m pretty pleased.

Yesterday we weren't allowed to play. We were stopped by some good defending and we needed to be stronger. We wanted to play, we just weren't allowed to. Australia will want to play more hockey than China so it will be interesting and we are really looking forward to it."