Tindall hat-trick edges England closer to semis

Phil Burrows 9 (F)  
Hayden Shaw 34,53 (PC,PC)  
James Tindall 7,23,65 (F,F,F)  
Richard Mantell 30 (PC)  
Rob Moore 48 (PC)  

A hat-trick from Surbiton forward James Tindall and goals from Richard Mantell and Rob Moore helped England to deserved 5-3 victory over New Zealand in Delhi as the European Champions edged closer to a semi final spot.

The result puts England top of Pool B on seven points, just one ahead of New Zealand and tomorrow's opponents South Africa.  A draw against the South Africans would guarantee England's progress but whether as pool toppers would remain to be seen depending on the Kiwis' result against Canada.

The exciting first half saw five goals as England took an early lead through Surbiton forward Tindall only to see Kiwi captain Phil Burrows equalise just minutes later.  Tindall restored England’s advantage just over midway through the half and Reading defender Richard Mantell scored his first goal for England since breaking his leg at the World Cup in Delhi earlier in the year.  Just before the break New Zealand halved the deficit through Hayden Shaw’s penalty corner.

Into the second half and Rob Moore made it 4-2 as he deflected home Ashley Jackson’s penalty corner but Hayden Shaw pulled another back from a well struck penalty corner.  With five minutes remaining James Tindall completed his hat-trick, the second English hat-trick of the Commonwealth Games after Crista Cullen’s for the women against Wales, to take him to within one goal of an international half century of strikes.

Tindall’s first goal was a well taken shot that found the far side of the goal after he had been played in behind the Blacksticks’ defence from a quick free hit on halfway.  At the other end, New Zealand’s equaliser came at the third attempt after Cannock goalkeeper James Fair had done well to stop two goal-bound shots before Phil Burrows lifted the ball over him.

Tindall’s second demonstrated the quick thinking of the 27 year old as he took full advantage of poor control in the New Zealand defence to score with a quick reverse stick shot from close range.  And Richard Mantell put England 3-1 up with just  five minutes to the break when he slipped a penalty corner flick through the legs of New Zealand goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex.  The goal was the elder Mantell brother’s first since scoring a double against South Africa at the World Cup in which he broke his ankle seven months ago.

Just before the break, Hayden Shaw reduced the deficit with a low penalty corner goal.

Early in the second period James Tindall came close to grabbing his hat-trick goal but was denied by Kyle Pontifex from close range.  Not long afterwards, Wimbleron’s Rob Moore did extend England’s advantage, diving in on Ashley Jackson’s low penalty corner effort to tip the ball inside the left post for 4-2. 

As he had done in the first half, Hayden Shaw hit back for New Zealand with a penalty corner with just under 20 minutes remaining before Iain Mackay came close for England at the other end, connecting at full stretch with Tindall’s volleyed cross.

Tindall completed his hat-trick with five minutes remaining as he fired England into a 5-3 advantage.  Turning sharply on a pass from Nick Catlin, Tindall unleashed a low shot beyond Pontifex to take him to within one goal of an international half century.

James Fair did well to prevent any further New Zealand goals when he won a one-on-one with four minutes to go and Tindall was denied his 50th goal with just two minutes remaining when Kyle Pontifex’s outstretched right leg tipped a shot wide.

After the match, hat-trick hero Tindall said, “We’ve relied on Simon Mantell for most of our goals so far so it’s nice to take the heat off him a bit.  It’s important we get as many people as possible on the scoresheet because four games in five days is hard work but the spirit and morale in this team is brilliant.”

On seeing his late effort to reach 50 international goals thwarted by Kyle Pontifex, Tindall said, “It was close.  The goalkeeper is always going to make some saves.  Yes it’s a little frustrating as a forward when that happens but I’m happy with a hat-trick, which I think is my first in senior international hat-trick.”

His Coach Jason Lee paid tribute to Tindall, adding “I wouldn’t want to be behind many of his shots – he hits them so hard.  A couple of his goals today were typical ‘Tinds’ shots.”

On the result, Lee said, “New Zealand are a great side who we sometimes struggle against so I’m pleased with the result.”