England survive corner barrage to claim first Azlan Shah point

England v Australia Sultan Azlan Shah 2018 II
India 1 (1)
Lakra (FG, 14) 

England 1 (1)
Gleghorne (PS, 53)

A superb display of bravery and resilience saw England secure their first points of the 2018 Azlan Shah Cup with a draw against India.

After falling behind at the end of the first quarter to a Shilanand Lakra goal, George Pinner’s goal came under siege in the second period with India winning eight penalty corners in as many minutes.

But they failed to convert any of them thanks to the heroics of Pinner and his defenders before Mark Gleghorne equalised seven minutes from time with a penalty stroke following a stick check on Barry Middleton.

Each side piled on the pressure thereafter trying to find a winner but there was to be no further change to the score, with both seemingly happy with a draw after their opening round defeats.

England started the game positively with David Condon narrowly missing the target in the fourth minute after a strong run into the circle.

Middleton and Sam Ward also posed questions but India struck in the 14th minute as Ramandeep Singh intercepted Ollie Willars’ pass before Lakra scored after Harry Gibson had initially done well to save Talwinder Singh’s shot.

Substitute ‘keeper George Pinner showed a strong hand to keep out Gurjant Singh less than 30 seconds afer coming on before pulling off two brilliant saves from the ensuing corner barrage, while Middleton, Gleghorne and Liam Sanford also blocked efforts from Varun Kumar and Amit Rohidas.

In amongst those series of corners Harry Martin missed a chance to equalise before Liam Ansell saw a shot blocked and Ward’s stinging reverse effort was saved by Suraj Karkera as the half-time klaxon sounded.

The third quarter was much more sedate with little goalmouth action, Gleghorne’s blocked 32nd minute penalty corner England’s only chance of note despite a yellow card for Simranjeet Singh.

Gleghorne was then on hand to charge down yet another penalty corner from Rohidas in the final quarter before Pinner and Henry Weir managed to scramble the ball off the line in the 51st minute.

England pressed to find the equaliser after that and it came two minutes later as Gleghorne neatly tucked his penalty stroke into the corner after Ward’s shot was well saved by Pathak.

Pinner was then called into action in the final minute of the game with keep out a wicked strike with his left foot to ensure a tight game finished level.

England next face Ireland on Tuesday 6 March at 0800 GMT in a game you can watch on the FIH's YouTube channel.

England Starting XI: Gibson (GK), Sloan, Gleghorne, Roper (C), Dixon, Middleton, Creed, Goodfield, Condon, Gall, Sanford

Subs: Pinner (GK), Willars, Weir, Martin, Griffiths, Ward, Ansell