Ireland 1 (1)
Duke (10’, FG)
England 5 (3)
Toman (20’, FG); Evans (22’, FG; 29’, FG); Ansley (42’, PC); Hunter (59’, PC)
England’s women produced a commanding performance to beat Ireland and take a step closer to qualifying for the 2022 Women’s Hockey World Cup.
Sarah Evans struck twice while Anna Toman, Giselle Ansley and Jo Hunter all scored from corners as England came from behind to secure their second win of the tournament.
Ireland had taken the lead early on through Deirdre Duke as they started the game on the front foot but once the momentum turned in the second quarter, England never looked back.
That result leaves England sitting top of Group C on six points, with both Ireland and Scotland behind them on three points. To qualify for the World Cup, England will need to stay where they are in the standings, meaning victory over Scotland in their final group game tomorrow will secure their place.
Both teams began the game looking nervous, with neither fashioning a clear cut chance until Maddie Hinch was required to make a brilliant reaction save after an Ireland corner was initially blocked by Laura Unsworth.
There was nothing the England shot stopper could do to stop Duke’s goal a minute later as the forward slid in to convert Anna O’Flanagan’s superb cross.
England significantly upped their tempo in the second quarter, Grace Balsdon firing a corner just wide before Toman slapped home her first England goal with perfect precision in the 20th minute.
Giselle Ansley then saw a corner well saved by Ayeisha McFerran before Evans scored her first of the day, finding herself in the right place to nudge home Lily Owsley’s cross after good play down the right hand side of the circle.
McFerran saved another corner just seconds later but Evans was perfectly placed once again shortly before half-time to turn in her second after some silky 3D skills by Ellie Rayer at the top of the circle.
England continued on the front foot in the second half, winning a corner in just the second minute that McFerran once again managed to block before Izzy Petter’s shot on the reverse flew over the crossbar.
Ansley was on hand to score for the second successive game in the 42nd minute as her corner flick deflcected off an Irish stick into the net before Rayer looked to add a fifth in the dying moments of the quarter, only to be denied once again by McFerran.
The Ireland ‘keeper once again denied Rayer in the 51st minute, with Erica Sanders firing the rebound wide before McFerran saved another shot from Laura Unsworth.
With less than two minutes remaining, England won their eighth corner and added their fifth goal as Hunter’s touch on Toman’s shot looped into the goal.
After the game, Player Of The Match Toman said: “We’re so pleased to get the win. Obviously we were very disappointed with our last pool game so we went away as a team, put that to bed and focused on this game which was huge for us.
“Obviously Home Nations battles can often be quite hard for us as England players so I’m really pleased with the result and we can now look forward to our game against Scotland.
“It was nice to get involved in a bit more attacking play through the middle. It was a new experience for me! I’m thrilled for the girls, thrilled with the team’s performance and looking forward to tomorrow.”
Their final group game against Scotland will take place at 17:45 on Saturday 12 June. That will follow on England’s men contesting for European bronze when they face Belgium at 09:00. Both games will be shown live on BT Sport 3.
Starting XI: Hinch (GK), Unsworth, Evans, Toman, Townsend, Rayer, Ansley, Pearne-Webb (C), Owsley, Balsdon, Petter
Subs (Used): Burge, Sanders, Neal, Hunter, Ledesma, Crackles
Subs (Unused): Heesh (GK)