Ansley double gives Great Britain share of the spoils

Giselle Ansley bagged a brace in the 2-2 draw with Australia.

Australia 2 (1)
Georgia Nanscawen 20 (FG)
Emily Smith 55 (FG)

Great Britain 2 (1)
Giselle Ansley 28, 50 (PC, PC)

Two penalty corner goals from Surbiton’s Giselle Ansley handed Great Britain a 2-2 draw in the fourth game of the test series with Australia. The No18 struck her first-ever Great Britain goal in the first half to cancel out Georgia Nanscawen’s opener before doubling the advantage ten minutes from time. Emily Smith grabbed an equaliser late on to level it up and leave the series locked at 1-1 with two matches to play.

Australia threatened first, winning a penalty corner after four minutes. Madison Fitzpatrick stepped up to take the shot but Maddie Hinch dealt with it, gloving the ball to safety. The Hockeyroos’ high press was making it difficult for Great Britain to play their way out of their own half and from a turnover the hosts won another corner. Jodie Kenny was poised but the injection was not cleanly stopped and the chance was gone. Great Britain’s brightest moments in the first quarter came via some darting runs from Helen Richardson-Walsh, whose skill and tenacity gave the home defence plenty to think about. Chances were hard to come by, however and it was 0-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Five minutes into the second quarter Australia took the lead. A cutback from the left found its way to Nanscawen who finished well on the bounce giving Kirsty Mackay, a quarter time replacement for Hinch, no chance. Mackay was called upon moments later making a fine low save to keep out a Kenny penalty corner. Great Britain hit back and won their first penalty corner with three minutes to go to half time. Ansley took the shot from wide angle and fired a lovely drag flick into the corner to make it 1-1. Buoyed by the leveller Danny Kerry’s side pushed for another and Ellie Watton’s snapshot drew a good save from Ashlee Wells, keeping it 1-1 at the interval.

Within a minute of the restart the Hockeyroos won another penalty corner. Susannah Townsend was out like an express train and charged Kenny’s shot down resulting in another corner. This time Fitzpatrick flicked for goal but blazed her effort over the bar. Sarah Haycroft’s pace was once again a threat and she opened up the Australia defence down the right hand side. Her pass into Watton was instantly diverted goalwards by the St Albans striker but was well saved by Wells. It was Haycroft again threatening the defence with seven minutes left in the quarter, driving into the circle and winning another penalty corner. Ansley shot again but Wells made the save to her right. Hinch did well to keep out a break from Brooke Peris at the other end and then watched on as Edwina Bone’s shot flew over the top as Australia rallied with five minutes left in the third period. With seconds remaining to the break Australia had another penalty corner. Fitzpatrick fired the shot in but Hinch stretched out a right foot and made an excellent save.

With ten minutes left on the clock in the final quarter Helen Richardson-Walsh won a penalty corner after good approach work from Townsend. Ansley found a gap between Wells’ pads via a slight deflection to make it 2-1 with her second of the match. Australia hunted for an equaliser and forced a penalty corner but Great Britain’s defence stood firm and kept them out. However with five minutes remaining the Hockeyroos got their equaliser thanks to a scrambled goal from Emily Smith with Nanscawen in close attendance. Nanscawen herself had a gilt-edged opportunity to make it 3-2 with four minutes left, finding space at the far post only for the ball to somehow evade her with the goal gaping. Despite some frantic late pressure from both sides, there was still nothing to separate them and it stayed 2-2.

Danny Kerry, Great Britain Head Coach:

“It was a very sub-optimal performance and we were very fortunate to get a draw. Many aspects of our game were not where they needed to be. Having said that we have needed to and have shown plenty of grit and I’m pleased for Giselle scoring her corners.”

The series is now tied at one game apiece with two left to play. The next match is on Saturday 20 February at 7am UK time. For details on the scheduling, click here.

To watch the matches live, click here.

Both these sides will be competing in the Women’s Champions Trophy this coming summer at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, London. See the Hockeyroos and Great Britain, plus Netherlands, USA, Argentina and New Zealand fight it out to be crowned the best of the best. All the details are here.