10 April 2020

Hockey: Great Britain maintain 100% record at the Olympic Test Event

May 6, 2012

On a cold day at the Riverbank Arena the crowds were out in force to watch Great Britain women take on Argentina on day three at the Visa International Invitational Hockey Tournament.

Great Britain had not faced Argentina in an official game since their 1-0 defeat in the Champions Trophy Final back in February and it was clear from the outset that the game would be as competitive as ever.

Great Britain started the brighter side with two goals in the first half from Reading’s Alex Danson (pictured in red) and Slough’s Ashleigh Ball but Argentina came back strongly in the second half and it was left to some strong defensive work, top class saves from Reading’s Beth Storry and a handful of wasted chances from the Argentine’s to leave the final score at 2-0.

Speaking after the game Great Britain Head Coach Danny Kerry said, “We played well for 40-45 minutes but you tend to remember the most recent things, which weren’t great.

“The number of penalty corners we conceded meant the game could easily have got away from us.”

Great Britain started well with the first chance falling to Reading’s Alex Danson inside five minutes after she had initially opened up the play with a run across field.

With seven minutes gone Great Britain earned themselves a penalty corner after Danson was fouled in the circle, but Leicester’s Crista Cullen saw her attempt saved by Laura Del Colle in the Argentine goal.

Danson proved her place in the FIH All Stars line up on 15 minutes with a fantastic goal all of her own making. She intercepted a defensive pass from Argentina and took the ball into the top of the circle where she fired home a reverse stick shot much to the delight of the ecstatic crowd as they saw their team go one up.

Argentina attacked moments later and the Great Britain team called on the video referral after the South Americans had initially been awarded a penalty corner. The appeal was successful and a free hit was awarded.

On 17 minutes it was Argentina’s turn to appeal against a penalty corner decision but this time the appeal was rejected and Argentina lost their right to appeal for the rest of the game. The ball came out to Reading’s Kate Walsh but her shot was saved comfortably by Del Colle.

Danson continued to cause problems for Argentina in the circle and she earned her side another penalty corner with 13 minutes to go. Ball again passed out to Walsh but this time she disguised a pass back to Ball and she flicked the ball high into the Argentine netting to make it 2-0.

With just eight minutes left on the clock Argentina had their first penalty corner of the game, but despite the crowd of blue around the goal Storry and her defence stood up to task and cleared the ball. Walsh was flawless in defence during the first half making vital tackles on several occasions.

Great Britain continued to push into the final minutes, Ball came closest with her effort from the top of the circle, but the attempt went just wide leaving the score line two goals in the favour of Great Britain at half-time.

Argentina started to enjoy more and more of the ball in the second half and were awarded numerous penalty corners thanks to some good work from Carla Rebecchi and Martina Cavallero.

The Great Britain defence foiled all of the penalty corners and the Argentines seemed to lack ideas to break the line. Cullen and Storry both played stand out roles in ensuring the team didn’t concede; Cullen always first to the ball and Storry with some top class saves.

The game ended 2-0 and the clean sheet meant that Britain maintained their zero ‘goals against’ tally for the tournament so far.

Speaking after the game, GB Captain Kate Walsh acknowledged the competitiveness between the two sides, “We always seem to have good, tight games against Argentina. It’s always very passionate and I think we saw that again today.”

Speaking about his sides overall performance Kerry added, “We can’t just have 45 minute performances, we need 70 minutes.

“We’re trying to build up to have the game of our lives at the Olympics and for that we need fire in our bellies. The back line played well and Beth [Storry] made some good saves but we need performances.”

Great Britain will face Argentina again tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon in the final at 12.15 in front of a 12,000 sell out crowd.

Lizzie Flint, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

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