GB U21s secure opening 2019 Sultan of Johor Cup victory

GB U21s secure opening 2019 Sultan of Johor Cup victory
Great Britain 2 (0)
Russell (34’, FG), Oates (58', FG)

New Zealand 0 (0)

Great Britain’s U21 men began their title defence with a 2-0 victory over New Zealand in their opening 2019 Sultan of Johor Cup match thanks to decisive goals from Thomas Russell and James Oates.

Having taken gold at last year’s tournament, the team began the 2019 edition in fine form and looked threatening in attack throughout the opening quarter.

With three penalty corners going in their favour, Louis Beckert was kept busy in the New Zealand net as he denied Jon Bleby’s side on numerous occasions in the opening 15 minutes.

Though GB had the ball in the back of the net, it was to be ruled out, enabling New Zealand to quickly counter and fire just wide of the target in an action packed first quarter.

New Zealand earned their first penalty corner shortly after the restart with Oliver Payne’s left-handed stop preventing the team from taking the lead.

Great Britain replied well, enjoying plenty of possession in the opposition’s circle and asking more questions of Beckert, who did well to tip one effort over the crossbar just before half-time.

It didn’t take long for GB to get on the scoreboard after the break, Russell showing good composure to control and swiftly finish the ball after it had been whipped into his path from distance.

Russell nearly had another only two minutes later, however his attempt flew just wide of the target as the team looked to double the lead.

Successive penalty corners went in favour of GB, ‘keeper Taylor Craigie blocking the first before Ioan Wall’s second attempt from the set piece going just wide.

GB were able to get another on the board just before the full-time whistle as Oates finished well to put the game beyond doubt and secure a 2-0 victory after a commanding performance to begin the tournament in the perfect manner.

Their next game will see them face Japan at 9:10am BST on Sunday 13 October, a match you can live stream HERE

Starting XI: Payne (GK), Nurse, Oates, Russell, Griffiths, West, Park, Wall, MacKenzie, Buckle, Rushmere

Subs: Mazarelo. Stanley, Ramshaw, Golden, Bhuhi, Williamson