England Men had to come from behind before securing their place in the semi-finals at the Rabo EuroHockey Championships in Amsterdam on Wednesday afternoon with a 2-1 win over Ireland.
Ireland, ranked tenth in the world, three places below England, took the lead in the 13th minute. Ireland had an open play goal ruled out after the umpire blew for a penalty corner seconds before the ball entered the goal, but justice was done seconds later when Matthew Nelson deflected Conor Harte’s shot past George Pinner from the corner.
Ireland held on to their lead until half time, but within two minutes of the start of the third quarter, England were level, Liam Sanford playing a long ball from the right towards Surbiton’s David Goodfield, whose shot eluded Irish goalkeeper, Davey Harte.
The winner came a minute from the end of the third quarter, Sam Ward scoring from open play to give England all three points.
The tension seemed to get to Ireland in the third quarter as first Kirk Shimmins saw green before he was joined by team-mate, Shane O’Donoghue, who was given a ten minute suspension.
Although England’s Ian Sloan saw green nearer the end of the third quarter, Ireland suffered the bigger disadvantage.
Ireland took off Davey Harte with just over two minutes to play, and installed a kicking back.
In the last minute, Surbiton’s Brendan Creed made an important tackle in his own circle close to the backline, but although Ireland regained possession, they lost their video referral challenging a foul with just twenty seconds remaining, England managing to run out the clock.
More information about the tournament can be found in the Match Centre section of the FIH website here
The England Hockey match report can be found here