Great Britainís grandstand finish downs Argentina

Tom Carson got his name on the scoresheet for Great Britain against Argentina. Credit Ravi Ghowry

Great Britain 2 (0)
Tom Carson 55 (PC)
Ian Sloan 60 (PC)

Argentina 1 (0)
Gonzalo Peillat 47 (PC)

Two goals in the last five minutes for Great Britain handed them a 2-1 win in the second test against Argentina. Having fallen behind to Gonzalo Peillat’s 47th minute penalty corner, it took late strikes from Tom Carson and Ian Sloan’s first goal for Great Britain to overhaul the deficit and level the series.

Bobby Crutchley made six changes to the side who took part in the first test with Simon Mantell making his first appearance in a Great Britain shirt in almost a year after recovering from concussion. The other players to come in were Harry Martin, Alastair Brogdon, Dan Fox, Ian Sloan and Hampstead and Westminster goalkeeper Harry Gibson, who made his debut. The players rested from the first test were James Bailey, Ashley Jackson, Sam Ward, Mark Gleghorne, Barry Middleton and Iain Lewers.

The first quarter was a cagey affair with both teams sizing each other up and grappling for control of the midfield. The visitors had the better of the chances with Juan Gilardi coming closest, fizzing an upright backhand strike wide of the far post.

The pattern remained the same in the second quarter with both sides content to keep possession and wait for an opening to present itself. Paddy Smith was called into action to keep out a snap shot from Lucas Vila and then the East Grinstead goalkeeper pushed Manuel Brunet’s shot onto the post to keep it level at the half time interval.

Great Britain forced a penalty corner early in the third period but Carson’s drag flick was well saved by Julian Sabaz in the Argentina goal. Mantell went close with a shot on the turn that almost crept inside the near post but despite brighter attacking intent from the hosts it remained goalless with 15 minutes left on the clock.

The fourth quarter sparked into life in the 47th minute. Peillat beat Gibson with a precise penalty corner to finally break the deadlock. Los Leones’ No2 had another penalty corner effort moments later but this time Gibson made a terrific save, turning the ball round the post with his stick, high to his right.

With five minutes remaining Carson drew the sides level with an emphatic finish off a penalty corner rebound and then, with seconds left to spare, it was 2-1 to GB. Sloan’s penalty corner was too powerful for the goalkeeper and despite a strong touch from Sabaz, the ball crossed the line to give Bobby Crutchley’s side the win.

Bobby Crutchley, Great Britain Head Coach

“I’m pleased with a lot of what we did today. We had an inexperienced team compared with Monday, we lost a great deal of caps with the players we left out, but that’s the challenge I was setting the group. I wanted to see how people step up to the mark which these players did very well. There are technical aspects we need to improve and be better at and they caused us some problems but overall I’m pleased we stuck at it and got a win in a tight game.”

“Tom Carson scoring is a real positive and Ian Sloan’s first goal for us is a highlight. Harry Gibson winning his first cap is pleasing and of course, we’re absolutely delighted to see Simon Mantell back on the pitch after a nightmare year for him. There are lots of plus points and lots to work on but we’re happy overall.”

“The depth of the squad is something we’ve worked on for a while. It’s great we’ve improved it to some degree but there is still a way to go. We tried it against Australia here and got a bit of a drubbing but we’re learning fast. We have to know that if we lose any of our experienced players we can still cope. You never know what might happen so developing our strength in depth is important and we’ve taken another step forward today.

We want to play better in the third game. Some of our technical ability wasn’t as we’d like and we need better execution in key areas. Our deep defence was good today but we need to keep improving.”