Patient Great Britain seal Malaysia win

David Condon in action 480 x 290

Great Britain 3 (0)
David Condon 31 (PC)
Ashley Jackson 49 (PC)
Sam Ward 50 (FG)

Malaysia 1 (1)
Muhammad Shamsul 14 (FG)

A goalkeeping master class from Malaysia’s Roslan Jamaluddin ultimately proved in vain as second half goals from David Condon, Ashley Jackson and Sam Ward overturned a half time deficit to steer Great Britain to a 3-1 win. Bobby Crutchley’s side had trailed at the break thanks to Muhammed Shamsul’s 14th minute strike, but GB’s patience and an improved second half display paid off and sent them into the quarter finals unbeaten.

Great Britain came out with a clear attacking intent with Ashley Jackson at the heart of everything they did in the opening exchanges. The first chance fell to Adam Dixon who cut inside and hit a backhand strike but he couldn’t get a clean connection and the ball was cleared. Tim Whiteman ventured forwards and was picked out by Jackson but from a tight angle the Beeston man couldn’t force the ball past Roslan Jamaluddin. A minute before the break Great Britain fell behind from the first meaningful attack by Malaysia. Muhammed Shamsul found space in the circle and hit the net with a backhand strike that crept inside the near post.

Great Britain kept up the pressure in the second quarter as they hunted the equaliser. Nick Catlin’s shot flashed over the top and then Jamaluddin did well to block from Barry Middleton after another superb run and pass by Jackson.

The goalkeeper then excelled himself twice in quick succession to repel a strike from Condon and then to turn a powerful Iain Lewers shot over the top from the rebound. Despite dominating the game, Bobby Crutchley’s side went in at the half time break trailing.

Great Britain forced a penalty corner in the first minute after the interval. The routine broke down but Mark Gleghorne fed Jackson whose shot was saved. Condon reacted first to snap up the rebound and level the scores.

Moments later a great run by Sam Ward caused the Malaysian defence problems. Jamaluddin saved from Ward but the ball broke to Chris Griffiths with the goal gaping. The goalkeeper threw himself back into the goalmouth to make an incredible save to keep the scores level. With just over three minutes left in the quarter Jackson won another penalty corner. The No7 went for goal but his flick went wide of the target.

Malaysia went down to nine men at the start of the final quarter and Condon almost capitalized with a snapshot that went just wide. With four minutes gone in the final quarter Great Britain won another penalty corner. Malaysia asked for a referral which was turned down. Jackson stepped up and found the net with a deflected effort to give his side the lead for the first time in the match. A minute later and it was 3-1. After a good advantage from the umpire, Alastair Brogdon supplied the cross for Sam Ward to swivel and fire the ball through the goalkeeper’s legs for his third of the competition. Jamaluddin did well to block another effort from Griffiths as GB looked for a fourth in the closing minutes, but with the goalkeeper in superb form they were frustrated in their attempts, settling instead for a 3-1 win.

Great Britain must now await the completion of other pool games to see who they will play in the quarter finals on Wednesday.

Quotes – Great Britain goalscorer Ashley Jackson

We knew they would come out hard as they’re a very good team, which they’ve shown in the tournament already. The first half didn’t go the way we wanted, we weren’t patient enough. In the second half we controlled the game and waited for our opportunities to come and got the job done. Percentage wise for corners, we’re pretty good. We had a broken move that still went in and it seems we’re getting goals from our set pieces. We’re confident with our corners and hopefully that will continue.

Great Britain Head Coach – Bobby Crutchley

They played very deep so it was always going to be difficult to open them up. We had to be patient, and improve our quality in the second half which we did. We gave them some opportunities to counterattack in the first half so we had to cut that out, in order to deny them chances. We could have had a couple more goals, but overall I’m very pleased.

I was confident the goals would come as long as we stuck to our game plan. The challenge in those games is that chances are often not clear cut, so we just needed to be ready to put the ones we did get away. The goals were never going to be pretty, flowing moves but we got what we needed and that’s what mattered.

You’d say most people want to avoid Australia, but having said that we focused on ourselves and keeping our momentum rather than what might happen on Wednesday. We’ve finished the pool unbeaten, so on the whole I’m happy, but there is still plenty of work to do.

Don't forget you can see Bobby Crutchley's England side in action this summer as World Class international hockey returns to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for the Unibet EuroHockey Championships 2015. Details are available on the tournament website.