Ward double gives Great Britain win over Netherlands

Ashley Jackson made his 100th Great Britain appearance against the Netherlands. Credit Ravi Ghowry1

Netherlands 0 (0)

Great Britain 3 (1)
Sam Ward 11, 43  (FG, FG)
Henry Weir 48 (FG)

Two goals from striker Sam Ward helped to fire Great Britain to a convincing 3-0 win over the Netherlands at the Ergo Masters Four Nations Invitational in Dusseldorf. Ward struck in the first quarter and then again in the third before Henry Weir’s second goal for Great Britain put the gloss on the score in the final period. The win sends Great Britain top of the table with Germany facing Belgium later on today. 

The first quarter started with an early chance for the Dutch. Good approach play from Mirco Pruijser set up Robbert Kemperman but George Pinner did well to block from the No14 from point blank range. The Netherlands enjoyed the better of the possession and territory in the early going but found Great Britain’s defence in stubborn mood. A wall of white shirts awaited them every time they broke forwards and after his early sight of the ball, Pinner was largely a spectator for the rest of the first period. With four minutes to go till the break Bobby Crutchley’s side created their first real chance. A long ball out of defence found Alastair Brogdon on the left. He did well to break into the circle and his cross found its way to Ward at the back post. The striker spun and slotted home to make it 1-0 and sent his side into the second quarter in the ascendancy.

The second period yielded more possession for Great Britain but once again, both sides were finding chances hard to come by. The best opening of the quarter fell to Phil Roper with five minutes to go until the break. The Wimbledon man did well to engineer some space in the circle but his backhand effort flew over the bar. At the other end, a fine tackle from Dan Fox halted a promising break forwards from Jeroen Hertzberger late on in the half and it remained 1-0 at the half way stage.

Great Britain made a bright start to the second half and a marauding run by Brogdon set up a chance for Mark Gleghorne but his shot on the turn flashed wide. Just a minute later the Dutch won the first penalty corner of the match. Despite the threat on the goal, Pinner stood firm with a solid glove on the ball and kept the shot out. The Dutch continued to have more of the possession but it was Crutchley’s side that looked the more threatening. On more than one occasion Brogdon and Simon Mantell got round the back but the final pass didn’t quite come off. Ian Sloan could have doubled the lead but his shot from the top of the circle was inches wide.  

With just two minutes until the break Great Britain finally did extend their advantage. Ashley Jackson, making his 100th GB appearance in the game fed the ball wide to Dan Shingles. The No20 made his way into the circle and hit the ball towards goal. In amongst the crowd of players, Ward ghosted in to divert the ball past Jaap Stockmann to make it 2-0. 

The Dutch withdrew Stockmann and moved to play with a kicking back at the very start of the final quarter as they searched for a way of getting back into the match. It was a gamble that backfired almost immediately. Jackson collected the ball on the left and at first there seemed to be little on. A drop of the shoulder and lovely jink inside put the Great Britain captain into the circle and with no goalkeeper he calmly played the ball through the crowd for Weir to touch in and make it 3-0. The goal prompted a re-think from Netherlands coach Max Caldas and Stockmann returned to the field shortly after. Ward was still searching for his hat-trick and forced two smart stops from Stockmann late on but despite the striker’s best efforts there were to be no further goals and it finished 3-0 to Great Britain.

Great Britain’s next match is on Sunday against the Belgium at 1030 UK Time.

Head Coach Bobby Crutchley:
“We had to do a lot of defending in the first half and we weren’t secure enough in possession which invited them to put us under pressure. I thought we defended well but in the second half we added a bit more attacking threat. When they went to a kicking back we were well organised and a great piece of skill from Ashley Jackson set us up to score a third and make it safe.”

“We’ve been very good defensively for a while now so I am pleased that has continued out here. We want to create chances and to punish teams when we do. Scoring three goals today was nice and it was nice to keep a clean sheet as well.”

“Very few players get 100 Great Britain caps so it tells you something about Ashley Jackson as a player and person that he’s reached that total. He’s taken on the captaincy on this trip and he’s really led by example. He’s a fantastic player and it’s great to see him achieve another milestone.”

“Belgium tomorrow will be a challenge. We know each other very well so they will be prepared for us and we will be prepared for them. The important thing in this competition is the performances. Results are nice but I’m more worried about how we play. We’ve had two good performances and I’m hoping for a third tomorrow.”