England secure World Cup qualification

David Goodfield celebrates his goal v Canada
England secured World Cup qualification in dramatic fashion as they came from behind to beat Canada 4-2 and reach the Hero Hockey Men's World Hockey semi-finals. 

Goals from Barry Middleton, Mark Gleghorne, David Goodfield and Sam Ward were enough to ensure their side made it through to the final four, where they will face the Netherlands on Saturday. 

It wasn’t all plain sailing and an upset looked to be on the cards when Canada found themselves two goals ahead after just 12 minutes courtesy of strikes from John Smythe and Gordon Johnston. 

Having conceded just seven goals in the group stages, Canada then made England work hard for their chances but eventually the continuous pressure told as Bobby Crutchley’s side pulled ahead to earn their fourth victory of the tournament. 

It was the hosts who started the final fixture of the day as the brighter team, creating the game’s first chance in the sixth minute as David Carter saved Sam Ward’s snapshot. 

But their opponents were the ones who opened the scoring three minutes later as Smythe slammed the ball into the goal after a superb run by Keegan Pereira down the left. 

Canada then doubled the lead in the 12th minute as Johnston’s fantastic penalty corner flick gave George Pinner no chance down to his left. 

That seemed to wake England up however and moments later they had halved the deficit as Middleton rose above Carter to get the faintest of touches on a deflected Ward pass and turn it into the goal. 

With the support of another superb crowd spurring them on England then pushed for the equaliser and it duly arrived in the 23rd minute as Gleghorne cutely deflected Mikey Hoare’s wicked cross past Carter. 

They had chances to go ahead before half-time but Carter did well to keep out a Chris Griffiths strike as well as a penalty corner with just one second remaining to ensure the sides went into the break level. 

England then went straight back onto the attack in the second half as Carter was called into action once again after just 15 seconds, using his legs to keep out a stinging drive from Middleton. 

He then produced another good save to keep out Ward but, as the pressure continued to mount, it seemed only a matter of time before England would score again. 

And that they did in the 38th minute through Goodfield as he got in front of a Canadian defender to divert Phil Roper’s cross into the goal. 

Ward was then denied twice more as Iain Smythe did well to charge down a penalty corner before a diving Carter saved another effort four minutes from time. 

He did eventually get his eight goal of the tournament though in the 57th minute, producing a fantastic reverse stick shot to score from the narrowest of angles and wrap up the victory for his side.