After beating Malaysia 7-0 in their opening pool game, England Men found Pakistan a tougher prospect on Sunday afternoon and were held to a 2-2 draw in an eventful match.
Pakistan drew their third successive match having drawn 1-1 with Wales and 2-2 with India with Malaysia to come in their final pool game.
The match became increasingly niggly, starting with an incident which saw Pakistan’s Abu Mahmood struck by Sam Ward’s stick during England’s first penalty corner routine. Ward was not punished, but former Surbiton player Liam Ansell was not so lucky in the second quarter, spending five minutes in the sin-bin after colliding with a Pakistan player near the sideline.
The teams went into half time with the match goalless but Muhammad Arslan Qadir gave Pakistan the lead three minutes into the third quarter, the ball rebounding off the backboard from a shot just inside the circle, beating Surbiton’s Harry Gibson, who was in the English goal for the first and third quarters.
Within a minute, England were level, Mark Gleghorne convertng a penalty corner with Ian Sloan poised just in front of the goal-line for a deflection. England’s second goal also came from a penalty corner in the 51st minute, Gleghorne slipping the ball for Ward to smash the ball against the backboard as England led for the first time.
A minute later, Ward was banished to the sin-bin for five minutes, together with Pakistan’s captain Muhammad Rizwan after a clash near the sideline.
Pakistan rescued a point with three minutes remaining, Ali Mubashar’s penalty corner shot inadvertently deflected over England goalkeeper George Pinner by defender Barry Middleton.
That was not the end of the drama as in the penultimate minute, Ward scored only for the umpire to rule the goal out for a foot offence. With so little time left, and Ward not knowing whether the ball had touched his foot, Surbiton’s David Goodfield asked for a video referral which was rejected when the foot offence was confirmed, although there was a question whether the goal would have stood as the whistle seemed to be blown before the ball entered the goal.
England had to settle for a point after a feisty encounter. England have Wales and India to play in their remaining two matches.
The Daily Schedule with links to information about individual matches can be found at the Commonwealth Games website
The England Hockey match report can be found here