England Men battled hard but came up just short against Germany in their second pool game at the Rabo EuroHockey Championships in Amsterdam, coming back from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 before going down 4-3 on Monday.
The game was a fantastic advertisement for hockey with plenty of drama as well as action.
Germany took the lead after just 97 seconds, Mats Grambusch rifling the ball into the top right corner to stun the English defence.
In the eleventh minute, England fell further behind, Niklas Wellen shooting from the edge of the circle, the shot deflecting off the inside of the left post into the bottom left corner.
England Head Coach Bobby Crutchley had some stern words at the first quarter break and his team responded immediately when play resumed.
Mark Gleghorne, who had scored twice against Poland on Sunday, scored his third goal of the tournament by smashing the ball into the goal after it was pulled back from the right backline.
Three minutes before half time, Surbiton’s David Goodfield brought the ball out of defence as England continued their attacking intentions, but Germany still led 2-1 at the interval.
Germany went close to extending their lead in the third quarter, Liam Sanford managing to prevent the ball creeping across the goalline behind goalkeeper, George Pinner, before England stunned Germany with two goals in as many minutes.
In the 40th minute, Surbiton’s Brendan Creed’s superb aerial ball out of defence found Phil Roper challenged by German goalkeeper, Tobias Walter, but Roper’s deft flick eluded the advancing goalkeeper enabling England to get back on level terms.
A minute later, England were awarded their first penalty corner and made no mistake, Sam Ward’s shot brilliantly deflected by Adam Dixon to give England a 3-2 lead.
However there was drama at the end of the third quarter with no time showing on the clock. Germany were awarded five penalty corners in added on time, and were originally awarded a penalty stroke after the second of the five.
England used their video referral, Video Umpire, Andy Mair changing the award to a penalty corner from which Christopher Ruhr contrived to hit the crossbar as part of another action packed routine.
The fifth penalty corner of the sequence gave Germany the equaliser they sought, Lukas Windfeder beating Pinner with a low drag-flick.
Just 54 seconds into the fourth quarter, Germany retook the lead, Anton Boeckel finishing after Moritz Trompertz forced another save from Pinner.
With 65 seconds remaining, Liam Sanford replaced Pinner as a kicking back, Pinner getting a well deserved standing ovation.
England’s hopes of salvaging a point were ended by Walter who made a superb save from Ward in the final minute, leaving England to wonder what might have been.
Creed and Goodfield were both in England’s starting line-up with goalkeeper, Harry Gibson on the bench.
England now need to beat Ireland to reach the semi-finals. Ireland thrashed Poland 7-1 to join Germany on four points; England on three points after their 6-0 win over Poland on Sunday.
England face Ireland at 1.45 pm BST on Wednesday and the game will be shown live on BT Sport.
More information about the tournament can be found in the Match Centre section of the FIH website here
England Hockey’s match report can be found here