England Women are in the Sentinel Homes Hockey World League semi-finals after a 2-1 win over the USA on Thursday. England will play hosts New Zealand at 7.15 am on Friday.
The USA dominated the early minutes of the game before England settled down and took control. England’s major concern will be their failure to convert a penalty corner in the tournament, having had ten awards so far, including four against the USA.
England took the lead in the seventh minute, captain Alex Danson crossing from the right for former Surbiton player Sophie Bray to finish at the right post.
The USA had to wait for the dying seconds of the first half for their first shot of the match, Erin Matson forcing a save from England goalkeeper, Maddie Hinch.
England’s domination failed to add any further goals until the 41st minute, Olivia Paige attacking down the right wing with Ellie Rayer running along USA’s backline, crossing for Bray to score her second goal of the game.
With nine minutes to play, England lost their video referral after Lily Owsley requested a review after she was obstructed, but having lost possession of the ball the referral was rejected.
England could have regretted the loss, especially when the USA pulled a goal back from a penalty corner conversion with six minutes remaining. Michelle Vittese passed the ball to captain Melissa Gonzalez to slip the ball just inside the left post beyond Hinch’s outstretched foot.
The USA elected to keep Jackie Briggs in goal rather than use a kicking back as they raised their game in search of at least an equaliser. England held out for the final nervous six minutes to book their place in the last four against the hosts.
Surbiton’s Giselle Ansley, Emily Defroand, Sarah Haycroft and Hollie Pearne-Webb were all in England’s starting line-up whilst Hannah Martin came on as a sixth minute substitute.
More information about the tournament can be found at the event page at the FIH website here
The tournament can be seen live on BT Sport.