Great Britain off to winning start at World League

Nick Catlin takes on Richard Hildreth of Canada. Photo by Ian MacNicol Getty images (2)

Great Britain 3 (1)
Simon Mantell 1, 23 (FG, FG)
Alastair Brogdon 24 (FG)

Canada 1 (1)
Mark Pearson 4 (FG)

Two goals from Reading’s Simon Mantell helped steer Great Britain to a 3-1 win over Canada in their opening match of the World League Final. Mantell struck in the first minute and then added his second before half time with Canada levelling it up in between through Mark Pearson. Alastair Brogdon notched a third in the 24th minute and that’s how it stayed, handing Bobby Crutchley’s team all three points.

Great Britain made a dream start, finding the net with their first attack. Brogdon fed Ollie Willars who had made his way forward down the left; he looked up and picked out Simon Mantell to touch in from close range for the opening goal.

The lead lasted just three minutes. Mark Pearson played the ball goalwards with what seemed to be a cross, but it beat everyone and found its way into the far corner. Great Britain rallied and an outrageous through-the-legs deflection from Brogdon brought a good save from former Canterbury goalkeeper Antoni Kindler. The Canada stopper was in action again moments later spreading himself well to block from Dan Shingles to keep it all square at quarter time.

Great Britain started the second quarter strongly and were camped in the Canada half for the opening exchanges. Nick Catlin was picked out near the top of the circle by Dan Shingles but he couldn’t manufacture the power to beat Kindler who saved again.

Their persistence paid off with 23 minutes on the clock. Scott Tupper couldn’t cut out a pass which allowed Tim Whiteman in on the right. The No21’s cross found Mantell who expertly guided the ball home for his second of the match. It was 3-1 a minute later as Catlin’s shot from the edge of the circle hit Brogdon’s stick to deceive the goalkeeper. With a minute left in the quarter Canada won a penalty corner but Tupper’s effort was charged down and Great Britain led 3-1 at the interval.

Bobby Crutchley’s side forced a couple of penalty corners at the start of the second half but Sam Ward’s efforts were blocked by the runner and then Kindler denied the No13 with a good save. Another chance went begging from another penalty corner, Harry Martin couldn’t get a touch on Phil Roper’s pass, but despite not adding to their score Great Britain finished the third quarter very much in the ascendancy.

Catlin and Brogdon combined in the second minute of the final quarter but the Holcombe man couldn’t keep his shot down and it flew over the bar. At the other end Harry Gibson, a half time replacement in goal, had to be on his guard, making a fine smothering save from Adam Froese to preserve the advantage. Mantell came close to grabbing his hat-trick with a fierce penalty corner strike that Kindler got down smartly to save but despite a number of late forays forwards from Great Britain they were unable to add to their tally and the score remained 3-1.

Bobby Crutchley’s side are in action again tomorrow as Great Britain take on Australia at 15:00 UK time

Nick Catlin, Great Britain:

“It was a solid team performance. We wanted to get off the mark today and it’s important to get points on the board which is what we’ve done. We worked hard and are pleased with the win and the performance.

We attacked with good intent and showed some good movement in the final third, especially off the ball. We’ll need to bring that into the game against Australia tomorrow.”

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