Danson double downs Japan in Great Britain win

Alex Danson in action against Japan 480 x 290

Alex Danson 43, 58 (FG, PC)

JAPAN 1 (1)
Yukari Yamamoto 25 (PS)

Great Britain triumphed on home turf in the Investec Private Banking International overcoming Japan 2-1 in a closely fought encounter at The Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. The visitors took the lead in the 25th minute from the spot as Yukari Yamamoto converted a penalty stroke. However, a second half brace from Alex Danson, with the winner coming just two minutes from time, was enough for Great Britain to secure a victory.

Danny Kerry’s side dominated the opening quarter with Reading team mates Danson and Susie Gilbert looking threatening in attack. Gilbert forced the first penalty corner of the match after linking up smartly with Danson, but the resultant strike from Zoe Shipperley was saved by Sakiyo Asano between the posts.

Against the run of play, Japan took the lead in the 25th minute when they were awarded a penalty stroke following a foot on the line. Yamamoto held her nerve, sending Maddie Hinch the wrong way and converting low to the keeper’s left to give her side a 1-0 lead heading into half time.
Great Britain continued to pile the pressure on the Japanese defence in the third quarter and were rewarded for their persistence in the 42nd minute. A through ball from Helen Richardson-Walsh, who ahead of today’s game was awarded her 250th combined England and Great Britain cap, found Alex Danson in the circle and the number 15 kept her composure to round Asano and sweep home.

The Great Britain forwards continued to threaten in the final quarter with Joie Leigh and Sarah Robertson causing problems in the Japanese circle.  Two minutes from time the hosts found the winner with a well-worked penalty corner routine as Captain Kate Richardson-Walsh’s pass set up a diving Danson to deflect in hers and Great Britain’s second of the match. 
After the game, Joie Leigh reflected on Great Britain’s performance and her goal scoring team mate saying:
“Japan are coming off a competitive block of games so they are sharp. We wanted to start a bit quicker than we did so it took us while to get into it, but by the second half we were dominating possession and creating chances. Alex is so reliable and clinical and it’s great to have her in the side - she’s fantastic on and off the pitch.”

Two goal hero Alex Danson spoke to England Hockey after the game. Watch the post match interview below:

Want to watch more hockey? Great Britain men are next in action on home soil against World Champions Australia on Saturday 13 June. Advanced tickets are available to buy from £5 for under 18s and £20 for adults. Click here to find out more.