Englandís men held to draw in opening EuroHockey Championships match

England’s men held to draw in opening EuroHockey Championships match
England 2 (1)
Ward (26', PC) 
Gall (58’, PC)

Wales 2 (0)
G. Furlong (32’, PC)
R. Furlong (52’, FG)

England began their EuroHockey Championships campaign with a 2-2 draw to Wales in a closely-fought encounter.

Despite seeing England control large parts of the game with long spells of possession, Wales proved a stubborn opposition with an organised defensive shape proving hard to break down. 

Though England did open the scoring with a fierce Sam Ward drag flick just before the half-time interval, Wales responded immediately after with one of their own.

Wales profited as England looked to secure a winner in the final quarter with Rhodri Furlong’s cross being deflected in by Henry Weir inside the final ten minutes to take the advantage.

England were able to secure a point with a late equaliser as a well-worked penalty corner routine was finished by James Gall to ensure England would take a point from their opening match of the tournament.

Eng M Euros 2019

Match report:

Wales started brightly with Ward forced into making a block on the goal line to deny the opposition from scoring from a penalty corner inside the opening few minutes.

After the early scare, England found their footing and bossed the possession count for the remainder of the half, making numerous circle entries without being able to really test the ‘keeper.

The second-quarter continued in the same ilk, England persistently looked for a breakthrough goal but resilient defending from the Welsh side continued to keep them at bay.

Having previously dragged one attempt narrowly wide, Ward ensured England would go into the half-time break with the advantage as his searing drive from a penalty corner thundered underneath the ‘keeper less than five minutes before the break.

Despite struggling to threaten in the opening half, Wales responded immediately in the second-half as Gareth Furlong’s drag flick soared into the back of the net.

A well contested quarter ensued as both sides pressed on looking to take the lead with good opportunities being created at either end of the field.

With the quarter coming to a close England twice looked likely as Calnan shot wide before Chris Griffiths’ ball across goal was intercepted to deny it reaching the onrushing Phil Roper.

Ramping up the pressure in the final quarter, Ward again came close from a penalty corner with the ball being fired just wide of the target.

But it was Wales who managed to deal the next blow as Rhodri Furlong’s cross deflected off Henry Weir and into the back of the net for a 2-1 lead with less than ten minutes remaining.

England pressed on with George Pinner withdrawn for the final five minutes for an extra outfield player and made the most of the numerical advantage. Having earned a penalty corner, a well worked routine saw Ashley Jackson roll the ball into the path of James Gall who expertly guided it past the ‘keeper for a late equaliser.

Next up for England is a tough test against Belgium, who defeated Spain 5-0 on Friday evening, at 5pm BST in their second match of the group stage.

England Starting XI: Pinner, Ames, Jackson, Martin, Sloan, Ward, Roper, Dixon, Creed, Calnan, Wallace.
England Subs (Used): Willars, Weir, Griffiths, Waller, Gall, Sorsby
England Subs (Not used): Gibson