Great Britain edged out by Los Leones

Head Coach Bobby Crutchley gives his post match team talk.

Great Britain 2 (2)
Alan Forsyth 28 (FG)
Sam Ward 30 (FG)

Argentina 3 (1)
Matias Paredes 24, 46 (FG, FG)
Gonzalo Peillat 38 (PC)

A debut goal from Great Britain’s Alan Forsyth and a Sam Ward strike were not enough to stop Bobby Crutchley’s team from slipping to a 3-2 defeat in the first test against Argentina. A brace from Matias Paredes and a trademark penalty corner from Gonzalo Peillat did the damage and gave Los Leones the win.

Great Britain started the game at a ferocious pace and David Condon was unlucky not to give his side the lead in the opening seconds when his backhand strike struck the post and bounced away to safety. Bobby Crutchley’s team put their visitors under extreme pressure in the first 15 minutes but despite their territorial dominance they were indebted to a splendid double save from goalkeeper James Bailey to keep the scores level at the break.

At the start of the second quarter Condon linked up beautifully with Ashley Jackson but the No22’s effort on the backhand fizzed wide of the far post. Against the run of play, Argentina drew first blood in the 24th minute. Peillat played a lovely pass into the circle, putting enough lift on the ball to make it difficult to defend. Up popped Paredes at the far post to apply the finish and give his team the lead.

The advantage lasted just four minutes. Chris Grassick’s terrific determination broke through three tackles and he showed excellent composure inside the circle to find Forsyth who slotted home his first goal for Great Britain. Right on the stroke of half time Ward made it 2-1. The Holcombe man produced some wonderful skill to engineer some space in a tight area, swapped passes with Phil Roper and slammed home from close range.

Gordon McIntyre had a good chance to make it 3-1 at the start of the second half, after more good approach play from Roper but his effort hit the side netting. Within eight minutes of the restart Argentina drew level. Peillat beat Bailey with a precise drag flick. It was almost 3-2 just moments later as Diego Paz found himself all alone with just Bailey to beat but the Wimbledon stopper did brilliantly, denying him twice in quick succession.

In the 46th minute, Carlos Retegui’s team took what proved to be a decisive lead. Again Peillat supplied the cross and again, Paredes the finish. Forsyth stung the goalkeeper’s pads with a backhand shot and then Ward brought a splendid save out of Tomas Santiago with a searing volley as Great Britain laid siege to the visitors’ goal in an attempt to find an equaliser. Santiago denied Jackson from a penalty corner and despite a late barrage; Great Britain could not find a way through and were beaten.

Quotes – Bobby Crutchley, Great Britain Head Coach

“It’s very frustrating because there are a lot of things we did well today. We had a lot of possession and a lot of territory but didn’t create enough. We had one penalty corner which given the good positions we had and the amount of the ball we had is not good enough. That’s what we need to become better at. We fell right into their trap as we were sloppy at times in possession which allowed them to counterattack. That’s what they’re looking for and that’s why it’s frustrating. We weren’t good enough when we needed to be.

We scored a couple of nice goals. It’s great to see Alan Forsyth score on his debut we’re all really pleased for him. He’s deserved that with the work he’s done since he came into the programme. It’s lovely to see him win his first cap and pick up his first goal. That’s the highlight for us.

There was good play in there but it wasn’t the key things. Chris Grassick was intense around the pitch which was nice to see and there were some good bits, but they weren’t enough which is why it’s so frustrating.

They’re a tough team to play against; they make life difficult for you. It’s a very different challenge to teams we normally face. You know against them if you give away the ball they create chances and if you give away corners they have a good drag flicker so you have to be better at doing the detailed stuff, I hope as the week wears on we will become better.”