GB battle past Japan for consecutive Sultan of Johor Cup victories

Great Britain U21s v Japan
Japan 1 (1)
Kawabe (21’, FG)

Great Britain 2 (1)
Wall (13’, PC), Park (47’, FG)

Great Britain’s U21s men made it consecutive victories in the Sultan of Johor Cup as they defeated Japan 2-1 thanks to goals from Ioan Wall and Nicholas Park.

After a quiet start to the match, the game came to life in the final moments of the first quarter. Conor Williamson’s driving attempt on goal was well saved and earned a penalty corner, which the team took full advantage of, Wall’s unstoppable drag flick giving GB the early advantage. 

Japan, who suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat to Australia in their opening match, had a counter-attacking chance of their own shortly after, but the resulting shot was quelled by Oliver Payne in goal right on the siren.

Parity was restored in the second-quarter as Kosei Kawabe found the back of the net after pouncing on the loose ball following a good initial save from Payne in goal.

Having been brought on at half-time, James Mazarelo was immediately tested in goal and did well to prevent Hiroto Takebayashi’s powerful drive from finding the back of the net.

GB had a chance of their own immediately after through James Oates, who was on the scoresheet in the 2-0 defeat of New Zealand last time out, however his attempt was just wide of the target.

A flurry of chances then fell the way of GB was Andrew McConnell fed Matthew Ramshaw who was only denied by a good save from the ‘keeper, who also kept out the follow up attempt from close range.

Great Britain restored their lead within the opening minutes of the final quarter, a weaving run and nice finish from Park, who was captaining the side, putting the team 2-1 to the good.

Both teams continued to press on in attack, neither able to make the most of penalty corner routines as the match finished with at a high intensity. Though the game had opened up and opportunities were being presented, Japan coming closest as they struck the bar, neither side could add to the scores as Great Britain secured a 2-1 victory to continue their unbeaten start to the tournament.

Great Britain will face Australia in their next match on Tuesday 15 October at 9:10am BST, which you can live stream HERE

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

Subs: Mazarelo (GK), Stanley, Ramshaw, Golden, Bhuhi, Williamson, McConnell