• FIH Pro League

GB Men Draw But Suffer Shootout Defeat To Spain

Great Britain 2 (1)

Ansell (22’ PC); Shipperley (59’ FG)

Spain 2 (2)

Iglesias (6’ FG); Basterra (9’ FG)

Spain win shootout 3-1

Great Britain’s men fell to a 3-1 shootout defeat to Spain, with the match finishing 2-2 in regular time in the FIH Hockey Pro League.

Spain had led for the vast majority of the match with a quick double inside the first ten minutes, before Liam Ansell replied with a terrific drag flick midway through the second-quarter.

However, Rupert Shipperley’s goal in the final minute ensured the action wouldn’t finish there by taking the game to a shootout.

Liam Ansell scored with GB’s first effort but magnificent work from Quico Cortes in the Spanish goal and three successful attempts gave the visitors the bonus point.

Alan Forsyth and David Ames collected their 50th GB cap as the team but had to settle for the singular point on their milestone.

Great Britain started off on the front foot, Rupert Shipperley’s drive in the opening minute being well saved as Danny Kerry’s side made their attacking intentions clear from the get go.

Despite enjoying a spell of pressure inside the visitor’s circle, it was Spain who were first on the scoreboard as Alvaro Iglesias prodded home from close range after a deflected ball found it’s way to him on the line.

The lead was quickly doubled courtesy of José Basterra. After breaking away down the flank, Spain flashed the ball across the face of goal with Basterra on hand to profit at the back post and tuck the ball away.

Though they found themselves at a two-goal deficit, GB were still well in the game and continued to create chances, yet Spain’s defensive resilience was proving challenging.

GB were able to make their breakthrough midway through the second-quarter as Ansell’s scorching drag flick hammered into the backboard to pull one back.

Both sides were looking menacing on the front foot and several chances continued to be created, Sam Ward coming closest from another penalty corner for the hosts.

Though there was to be no further goals through the remainder of the half, Great Britain quickly sought another as the second-half resumed with Ansell’s powerful drive going just wide.

With the team still trailing, GB continued to press on looking for an equaliser. Chris Griffiths came close after pouncing on a loose pass at the back, though his shot sailed over the bar.

Limiting Spain to few opportunities, GB were well in the ascendancy and nearly found an equaliser twice in a matter of minutes as both Rupert Shipperley and James Gall threatened.

But the breakthrough was to come. With just 30 seconds remaining, Henry Weir fired a perfectly placed ball into the circle with Shipperley on hand to prod home from close range to ensure the game would go to a shootout.

With at least a point secured, GB were unable to make it two as Spain took the spoils with a 3-1 shootout victory – Ansell netting the lone goal for the hosts.

After the match, Rupert Shipperley commented: “It was a bit of a relief to get the draw in the end and dig ourselves out of a hole. I feel like we dominated, especially the first-half, maybe were a bit unlucky to go 2-0 down but we did well to get back into it and get the draw.

“It’s good that we didn’t hit any panic buttons, just stuck to the process and knew that the chances would come, and they did keep coming – fortunately the last one went in. We didn’t panic, stuck to the processes and it paid off.

“It’s an honour to walk out here and it’s amazing that we can have some family and friends here today too, it makes such a difference and it’s always nice to get a goal too.

“I don’t plan the celebration, it’s just the emotion, but I get a lot of stick for it. Maybe I need to work on it, but as long as the ball goes in the back of the net then I’m not too fussed and will take the stick I get.

“We’ll rest up, have a good ice bath, get some food in us, and will have a debrief tonight to get ready for tomorrow where we’ll hopefully put a better performance in.

“There won’t be too many changes, maybe a few details but we’ve just got to tidy up a few little things. We were probably at six today but if we can get up to eight or nine tomorrow then we’ll be fine.”

The teams meet again on Sunday 23 May at 12:00 at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in what will be GB’s last match before the Tokyo Olympics – the match will be shown live on BT Sport.

Starting XI: Payne (GK), Ames, Weir, Forsyth, Shipperley, Griffiths, Dixon (C), Gall, Sanford, Wallace, Draper

Subs (Used): Ward, Creed, Ansell, Waller, Sorsby

Subs (Unused): Pinner