England Men won their first match at the Odisha Hockey World League Final tournament in Bhubaneswar, beating the hosts, India 3-2 after leading 2-0.
Surbiton’s David Goodfield scored England’s first goal with Sam Ward scoring twice to move England up to second in their pool behind Germany, who drew 2-2 with Australia.
England again rotated their goalkeepers, Surbiton’s Harry Gibson and George Pinner with Gibson starting in the first quarter. Gibson was called on early to make a fine save with Goodfield’s reverse stick shot going wide of the right post in the fourth minute.
The first quarter ended goalless but the deadlock was broken five minutes before half time. England forced a penalty corner which was defended but a subsequent attack found Goodfield on the left of the circle. His cross ended up in the goal after being deflected by the Indian goalkeeper.
England had to wait until two minutes from the end of the third quarter to double their lead. India’s Harmanpreet Singh misjudged a pass which found its way to Ward, who rounded the goalkeeper before slotting the ball home.
India fought back early in the fourth quarter to level,both goals coming from penalty corners. In the 47th minute Rupinder Singh forced a save from Pinner only for Akashdeep to score from the rebound.
Three minutes later, Rupinder Singh beat Pinner to make the score 2-2 in front of a home crowd expecting India to complete a comeback from two goals down.
Instead, it was England who clinched the victory, Ward getting into position before smashing the ball into the goal from near the edge of the circle to earn a 3-2 win.
In Pool B, the opening matches both finished 3-2, Spain surprising the Netherlands after Belgium pipped Argentina in the first game.
More information about the tournament can be found at the FIH website here
The England Hockey match report can be found here