Wales Men battled hard to come from behind and beat China 3-2 to finish fifth at the FIH Series finals in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Thursday.
China took a third minute lead, Dong Yang blasting home from the top of the circle after Lin Changliang’s shot was saved. Ao Yang had the chance to double the lead two minutes later but his shot hit the outside of the right post.
The Welsh comeback started in the 14th minute, Jacob Draper’s determined run into the circle rewarded with a superb finish off the backboard to level the score at 1-1.
China were unlucky in the 23rd minute when the right post also prevented E Wenhui from scoring.
Five minutes before half time, former Surbiton player, Gareth Furlong put Wales ahead with a superb drag-flick into the top right corner. Two minutes later, James Carson extended the Welsh lead with a shot which was deflected off a defender’s stick and lobbed over Wang Caiyu in the Chinese goal.
There were no goals in the third quarter, but Wales had to survive a run of four successive Chinese corners, Wales also lost Jonny Gooch with a suspected broken nose after the ball hit him in the face.
China finally reduced the deficit with ten minutes remaining, Su Lixing converting China’s sixth penalty corner of the match. Ao Yang had the chance to level for China in the 53rd minute but the ball was wildly smashed over the Welsh crossbar.
Wales then had to defend for five minutes after losing Jolyon Morgan due to a yellow card and having coped, managed to run out the clock to hold on for the 3-2 victory and defeat a team ranked ten places above them (Wales WR 24, China WR 14).
More information about the Men’s FIH Series Finals can be found at the FIH website