Men dig deep to earn important win over Ireland in EuroHockey

England celebrate in the EuroHockey Championships
England 2
Wallace (12', FG)
Roper (13', PC)

Ireland 1
Robson (21', FG)

England's men dug deep to earn an important win over Ireland in the EuroHockey Championships.

Goals in the first quarter from Zach Wallace and Phil Roper secured victory, as Michael Robson's effort for Ireland proved ultimately to only be a consolation.

It was a physical, gritty game but two moments of English quality were decisive; Ashley Jackson playing a significant part in both goals. Danny Kerry's team also had to show their defensive side, holding firm in the final quarter as Ireland pushed for an equaliser.

Having finished third in their initial pool and missing out on a semi final, England are in Pool C along with Scotland, Wales and today's opponents. This win means that a positive result against Scotland on Saturday will ensure Kerry's men remain in the top flight of the next EuroHockey Championships in two years' time.

Full report
Phil Roper had the game's first effort of note, firing in a cracking strike, only to see it blocked by brave Irish defending.

Then with twelve minutes on the clock, England scored an excellent goal. Ashley Jackson went on an incisive run down the right, finding Sam Ward in the circle. Ward looked up and decisively picked out Zach Wallace closing in to make it 1-0.

And just moments later it was 2-0, Ireland initially defending the penalty corner, only for Jackson to pick out Phil Roper for a super finish across his body.

Into the second corner and Ireland were beginning to get a foothold, and Michael Robson halved the deficit when he found space and fired home from a couple of metres inside the D.

The contest was becoming slightly feisty with plenty to play for, but there were no further goals before the break.

Late in the third quarter, an absolutely sensational pass from Jackson created space for Chris Griffiths to shoot on the reverse just inside the D, but the Irish 'keeper was able to palm it away.

The final quarter continued to be physical, and although down to ten men Ireland fashioned a corner in the last two minutes, only to be well denied by Henry Weir's brave running.

That proved to be the final action, and England had battled to a very valuable victory. They now face Scotland at 12:30pm UK time on Saturday and a positive result will ensure they play in the next EuroHockey Championships.

Starting XI: Pinner, Creed, Weir, Dixon (c), Ames, Sloan, Gall, Calnan, Roper, Jackson, Ward
Subs used: Willars, Waller, Martin, Griffiths, Sorsby, Wallace
Unused: Gibson