England Captain Alex Danson made history by celebrating winning her 200th England cap with the 115th goal of her career, to equal Marjorie Pollard as England and Great Britain’s all time top scorer on Wednesday night.
The goal, in the 34th minute put England (World Ranking 2) ahead against the USA (WR 7) but the hosts of the 2018 Vitality Hockey World Cup had to settle for a 1-1 draw for the second match running after Erin Matson equalised with a strike which crept inside the left post and beyond England goalkeeper, Maddie Hinch.
Danson’s magic saw her run into the circle before smashing the ball in to the goal in spectacular fashion.
The result leaves England with 2 points from 2 games and the USA with 1 point from 2 games. Ireland, 3-1 winners over the USA in their first match can win the pool with a victory over India on Thursday afternoon.
Another sellout crowd at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre saw Lily Owsley run down the right wing an Ellie Rayer attack down the centre in the first ten minutes, but it was the USA who came close to scoring first from their first penalty corner in the 11th minute.
England had three penalty corners in the match but after Laura Unsworth’s shot went wide from the first in the 20th minute, England had a great chance to take the lead, Surbiton’s Hannah Martin in perfect position to shoot, only to mis-hit the ball.
England’s second penalty corner also was spectacular, Susannah Townsend’s overhead stick shot striking the crossbar as the hosts’ frustration continued.
Ironically, it was the USA who came close to snatching the win forcing two late corners, but Hinch saved the first and the second injection sped out of the circle setting up a counter attack which England couldn’t quite finish off.
Martin was in the England starting lineup alongside Giselle Ansley and Hollie Pearne-Webb, with Sarah Haycroft coming on as a fourth minute substitute and Jo Hunter entering the pitch five minutes later.
After the match, Haycroft said, “We’re pretty proud of our performance and the result of the match came down to fine margins.”
Looking forward to the final pool game against Ireland on Wednesday evening, Haycroft added “We’ll prepare in the same way, do our homework and go out to win.”
Finally on an historic night for her England colleague Danson,. Haycroft paid tribute, “Alex is amazing to play alongside. She inspires every one of us and we are so happy to see her win her 200th cap tonight.”
More information about the tournament can be found at the FIH website