Honours even between Great Britain and Germany

David Condon celebrates scoring for GB. Credit Ravi Ghowry1

Germany 1 (1)
Christopher Wesley 20 (FG)

Great Britain 1 (1)
David Condon 23 (FG)

David Condon’s first half strike was enough to hand Bobby Crutchley’s side a share of the spoils in their opening match of the Ergo Masters Four Nations Invitational in Dusseldorf against hosts Germany. Christopher Wesley had given the home side the lead in the 20th minute but it was an advantage that lasted just three minutes as Condon slotted home from near the edge of the circle to ensure Great Britain picked up a point.    

Germany showed their attacking intent from the first whistle. In the first minute Christopher Ruhr broke free down the left before smashing in a fierce strike on the backhand which George Pinner did well to glove away from danger.

In the sixth minute Great Britain won their first penalty corner. The ball was not trapped cleanly at the edge of the circle however and the chance was gone. Their second penalty corner followed shortly after. Mark Gleghorne, making his 100th international appearance, took the shot but was denied by a flying save from Nicolas Jacobi in the home goal.

With three minutes until quarter time, Valentin Altenburg’s team forced their first set piece. Tom Grambusch took the honours but his drag flick was wide of the target and did not trouble Pinner. It remained all square at the end of the first quarter.

Germany struck the opening goal five minutes into the second quarter. Wesley turned the ball home from close range after a break down the left hand side. Undeterred, Great Britain hit back and on 23 minutes levelled the scores. A lovely turn and shot from Condon found the bottom corner giving the East Grinstead man his 17th international goal. Ruhr then flashed a shot past the far post, but despite the best efforts of both sides the scores remained level at one apiece at half time.

The start of the second half mirrored the first. Both sides created chances with Phil Roper’s shot well blocked by Jacobi at one end and then Florian Fuchs firing wide immediately afterwards at the other. Ashley Jackson stung the goalkeeper’s palms after a superb solo run and backhand shot from an acute angle as both teams fought hard for the all-important next goal. Jackson’s ability to create chances seemingly out of nothing almost paid dividends right on the stroke of quarter time. Another fierce backhand from the GB captain drew a fine stop out of Jacobi and it was still all square going into the final 15 minutes.   

The final quarter was a game of cat and mouse with both sides keeping possession of the ball for long periods as they searched for an opening. Great Britain lost Chris Grassick who went down injured with eight minutes remaining on the clock. Despite the brief break in play, the pace of the game soon picked up again in the closing stages. Despite some fast attacking hockey from both sides it remained 1-1 at full time.  

Great Britain’s next match is on Saturday against the Netherlands at 1300 UK Time.

Head Coach Bobby Crutchley:
“It was a positive performance from us. We created a number of good chances and scored a nice goal. We improved as the game went on and could have won it on another day.”

“I’m pleased with how we defended after the first quarter. We kept their chances to a minimum and a draw against Germany is a good result. We’re focusing on how we play and getting ourselves ready for Rio so there were plenty of pleasing aspects for me today. The only negative was losing Chris Grassick to injury. We’ll see how he is and assess that when we know more.”

“Our next game is the Netherlands who we haven’t played in a while. They are a class side who play a different style but that is why we’re here: To challenge ourselves and to get things right for Rio. We’re looking forward to it and if we improve from today I will be very happy.”