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GB Start 2018 Champions Trophy With Draw Against China

GB v China HCT2018
Great Britain 2 (2)
Martin (FG, 15); Owsley (FG, 23)

China 2 (2)
Xu (PC, 7); Peng (FG, 21)

Great Britain opened their 2018 Champions Trophy campaign with a battling draw against hosts China.

Hannah Martin and Lily Owsley scored the goals for David Ralph’s side as they twice came from behind in an entertaining first half, with Wenyu Xu and Yang Peng finding the net for China.

The second half was a much less frenetic affair as both defences held firm with Amy Costello and Giselle Ansley in particular producing plenty of crucial tackles.

All three of GB’s debutants – Tess Howard, Erica Sanders and Sarah Jones – also impressed but they couldn’t quite inspire the crucial third goal to see their side to victory.

Speaking after the match GB head coach David Ralph said: "It was a tough match for us today, the first matches in tournaments always are, especially against the home team.

"We are really pleased with several areas of our performance and know that we have to make improvements in other areas.

"In this tournament we get the opportunity to perform better pretty quickly as we face a strong Australia side tomorrow."

Playing in her first international since February 2017, Sabbie Heesh was called into action early on but could do nothing to stop Xu’s seventh minute effort as she pounced on a blocked Bingfeng Gu corner.

The current Olympic champions soon got into their stride though, with Owsley seeing a strike thwarted by Jiao Ye before three corners in succession were kept out, the last forcing the Chinese ‘keeper into a flying save.

Martin then equalised with just seven seconds of the quarter remaining, showing fantastic determination to beat the defender to the ball before firing the reverse effort under Ye.

Having re-grouped at the break, China then took the lead again in the 21st minute as Peng once again took advantage of a rebound, firing into the roof of the net after Heesh had saved Xu’s initial shot.

But two minutes later the scores were level again as Owsley fired an unstoppable shot into the top corner after great play again by Martin controlling the ball at the top of the circle.

Chances then became scarce in the third quarter, with only Ansley coming close to finding the next goal as Ye produced another great save to block her flick that looked destined to go in.

The final quarter saw GB apply plenty of pressure but they couldn’t force Ye into any further action as both sides eventually settled for the draw. 

Next up it's Australia on Sunday 18 November at 06:00GMT, a game you can watch on BT Sport.

Starting XI: Heesh (GK), Unsworth, Evans, Toman, Martin, Townsend, Ansley, Bray, Pearne-Webb (C), Heesh, Owsley, Balsdon

Subs: Tennant (GK), Robertson, Petty, Sanders, Howard, Jones, Costello
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