Great Britain’s Investec London Cup crunch match with Germany ended in disappointment last night, with their 2-1 defeat losing them a place in Saturday’s semi finals.
Although giving a performance that Great Britain Head Coach Danny Kerry later described as “sublime at times”, two German goals in the space of two first half minutes ultimately did the damage. Unfortunately a late strike from Hannah Macleod wasn’t enough for GB to pull it back.
GB were the brighter side at the start of the match. After comfortably surviving an early German penalty corner, GB won a series of four penalty corners in the space of 14 minutes. Germany goalkeeper Yvonne Frank saved from the first before an intricate move broke down and Frank made another good block. In between, Canterbury’s Natalie Seymour and Clifton’s Georgie Twigg both did well to thwart German forays forward.
When the opening goal did come it was somewhat against the run of play. Veteran Germany star Natascha Keller did the early work down the left hand side before finding Hannah Kruger, whose shot on the turn was deflected low into the goal by teammate Janine Beermann. Germany had the lead after 28 minutes.
No sooner had they gone ahead than Germany stunned the crowd with a second strike. Again, Keller was involved as she lashed a pass into the circle from the right side of the 23 metre line. Her effort found its target through a mass of British bodies and Kruger reacted quickly to turn the ball home on the back post for 2-0.
Requiring four goals to reach the semi finals, Great Britain returned for the second half with real hunger. Leicester’s Anne Panter, making her 100th international appearance, combined well with Reading’s Helen Richardson to set up fellow Leicester teammate Kerry Williams whose near post effort was turned wide.
Bowdon Hightown’s Sally Walton, Leicester’s Macleod and University of Birmingham’s Susie Gilbert all came within inches of connecting with crosses into the German circle as GB pressed hard for a goal.
Frank came to her side’s rescue again with 20 minutes remaining as she saved well from Reading’s Laura Bartlett before a diving deflection from Slough’s Ashleigh Ball flew just wide.
The pressure told with 11 minutes remaining as Macleod provided a patient finish on the back post after superb interlink play between Chloe Rogers and Gilbert. Drawing the goalkeeper, Macleod composed herself to slot home for 2-1 to rapturous cheers from the British support.
With the German defence on the back foot, GB pressed on and as Richardson’s flashed shot on the turn flew wide it seemed as if an equaliser was moments away. Ball forced Frank into another fine save with a shot on her reverse before Germany scrambled clear two probing British runs in the final minutes. Ultimately, the comeback wasn’t to be, as Germany hung on for a 2-1 victory and with it, a semi final clash against Australia on Saturday.
After the match, Great Britain Head Coach Danny Kerry said: “I’m quite proud really. I generally thought we were exceptional, like a knife through butter at times.
“It was good learning for us. Germany will play a lot better than that at the Olympic Games and they took their chances very well but I thought we were sublime at times.”
South Africa, the other team in Pool B, will face the Netherlands in the first of Saturday’s semi finals while Great Britain and Ireland will meet at 10:30am on Sunday.
An extra stand has been brought in to satisfy the demand for tickets to the Investec London Cup this weekend. Additional tickets are now available for both Saturday and Sunday, either on the gate or via www.greatbritainhockey.co.uk/investeclondoncup.
Jessica Whittington, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine
Image credit: Ady Kerry