England men book Euros Semi-Final place

Ward and Griff v Ireland

England came from behind to defeat Ireland 2-1 and reach the EuroHockey Championships semi-finals.

Matthew Nelson’s early opener was cancelled out in the second half by David Goodfield’s strike before Sam Ward popped up with the winner.

It was win or bust for England coming into the contest and the victory means they face Netherlands in the semi-finals on Friday night at 7pm.

Despite the obvious pressures on England heading into the contest they made a calm and composed start, keeping the ball well and making numerous penetrations into the Irish circle in the opening exchanges.

However with their first threatening attack it was Ireland who grabbed the first goal of the game. From a penalty corner Conor Harte’s effort was cleverly deflected by Nelson high into the net giving George Pinner and Liam Sanford no chance on the line.

Both sides largely cancelled each other out in the second quarter, Ireland were awarded an early penalty corner but the ball wasn’t controlled allowing England to clear.

In response England won a corner of their own but David Harte produced a smart double save in the Irish goal to keep England at bay and ensure his side entered the half-time break ahead.

England flew out the traps after the interval and were level inside a minute. Sanford fired a ball into the circle which was deflected to Goodfield, his effort was too hot for the Irish defence as it burst through their efforts and into the backboard.

Moments later England produced a glorious chance to move ahead, from a penalty corner the ball was shifted right to Middleton who crossed to Weir on the back post but he couldn’t make contact and the scores remained level.

However just before the final break England moved ahead. David Ames won the ball in midfield before feeding Ian Sloan down the right, he reached the baseline before cutting back to Ward who got in front of his marker to finish past Harte.

Ireland pressed to find an equaliser but found Pinner in top form to tip O’Donoghue’s effort over the bar from a penalty corner. With two minutes to go the Irish opted for a kicking back but England held firm to progress to the semi-finals.

England: George Pinner (GK), Michael Hoare, Brendan Creed, Liam Sanford, Adam Dixon, David Ames, Barry Middleton, Sam Ward, Phil Roper, David Condon, Chris Griffiths

Subs (Used): David Goodfield, Mark Gleghorne, Ian Sloan, Harry Martin, Henry Weir, Ollie Willars

Subs (Unused): Harry Gibson (GK)