Heartbreak for Halliday's men despite Horler hat-trick

Englands David Goodfield looks dejected in defeat.jpg

England 5 (3)
Luke Taylor 3, 38 (PC, PC)
Ed Horler 4, 20, 32 (FG, FG, PC)

Denmark 6 (4)
Klaus Riisom 5, 14 (PC, PC)
Mikkel Steinmetz-Christensen 7, 40 (PC, PC)
Jesper Jonasson 16 (FG)
Tobias Grand 25 (FG)

A penalty corner with the last play of the match from Denmark’s Mikkel Steinmetz-Christensen broke England’s hearts in the cruellest of fashion, handing the Danes a 6-5 win and in the process snatching the promotion place from under England’s noses.

With England needing just a draw or a win to take the second promotion place, Luke Taylor’s leveller two minutes from time appeared to have secured the necessary point for Andy Halliday’s side until Steinmetz-Christensen late, late intervention.

England started the brighter of the two sides and took the lead thanks to a well-worked penalty corner from Luke Taylor. Horler, his Loughborough Students team mate made it 2-0 with a strong run into the circle and an accomplished finish. England’s press wasn’t allowing Denmark any space and the Danes called an early time out. Whatever was said did the trick as almost immediately they forced a penalty corner which was slotted in by Klaus Riisom. Two minutes later Mikkel Steinmetz-Christensen drew the scores level with a bullet penalty corner and then from another set piece Riison made it 3-2 to the Danes.

England had a great chance to level the scores from the penalty spot but Taylor’s effort was saved by the goalkeeper. A slick move down the left created space at the back post for Jesper Jonasson to punish the missed opportunity with a fourth goal but after a lovely patient move, Horler ripped in a third for England to send them in at the break just one goal behind.

Denmark struck first in the second half, grabbing their fifth thanks to a high turnover and sharp finish from Tobias Grand.

England, as they had done in previous games, threw caution to the wind and Johnny Kinder brought a good save from the goalkeeper and then England won their second penalty stroke of the match. Horler took the honours but incredibly, as he did in the first half, Martin Mortensen pulled off a fantastic save. Horler beat the goalkeeper from a penalty corner moments later to reduce the arrears.
With time running out, a well rehearsed corner routine gave Taylor a shot at goal which he buried with an unerring finish.

England looked like they had done enough but with 40 seconds remaining, the Danes took off their goalkeeper as a last throw of the dice. With the extra man outfield they won a penalty corner. The full time hooter sounded, making this the last play and with England desperate to cling on Steinmetz-Christensen beat Paddy Smith to send the Danes into second place and to shatter England’s dreams.

A disappointed Head Coach, Andy Halliday told England Hockey afterwards:

"We found it difficult to break down the Danish zonal defence but I always felt we would be in contention if the game stayed close until the final minutes. In the end, it was a devastating finish to an otherwise positive weekend for the development group. We have to learn lessons around closing out the final moments of games. missing out on a World Cup place in such agonising circumstances is difficult to stomach but the longer term lessons learnt will stand them in good stead in their future indoor and outdoor international careers. The decision to use the England indoor programme to benefit the development of the outdoor group has again been a success."

Starting 6:
1 SMITH Patrick (GK)
5 GOODFIELD David
9 KINDER John
11 CARSON Tom (C)
12 TAYLOR Luke
17 CREED Brendan

Substitutes used:
6 ALBERY James
13 DAWSON-SMITH Richie
14 FARRANT George
18 NEWMAN Chris
20 HORLER Edward

Did not play:

2 REYNOLDS-COTTERILL Toby (GK)

For full tournament details including results and scorers click here.