Day 1 at the FIH Pro League tournament two in London. GB Women took on Germany in what was a tight clash but the women were caught short in the final minutes.
The second match of the day saw the Netherlands face Spain in a fiery match.
In a game that swung in both directions for three quarters and was at stalemate, GB’s women finally succumbed to two late goals to lose 2-0.
In the first game of FIH Pro League London tournament two, it was GB’s women, 5th in the Pro League table and in the world rankings, against Germany ‘Die Danas’ who were just one place behind in the table and the current world rankings.
The opening minutes saw both teams exchanging attacks, with Germany slightly shading it in terms of possession. After eight mins Hannah Martin had GB’s best chance running in on goal but didn’t manage to get a shot off.
This was followed minutes later by another great chance, this time it fell to Laura Roper close in on goal, who passed to Ellie Rayer, but her attempt was saved. The final period of the quarter saw wave after wave of GB attacks as they pressed for a goal, but the German defence held out.
Germany went down to 10 early in the first minute of quarter two, but then forced the first penalty corner. GB’s defence blocked the first attempt. On their second they shot wide of the left-hand post.
The visitors made a stronger start in the second quarter as they pressed for the first goal but GB’s defence just managed to scramble another chance clear from goal. The quarter played out with Germany in the ascendancy but neither team could break the deadlock.
An opening goal for Germany in the first minute was disallowed, after a run into the circle from the right, Charlotte Stapenhorst finished with a deft flick into the top left-hand corner of the goal. It was judged to have hit the German player on the body. Minutes later GB survived another penalty which was appealed successfully. Great Britain grew into the quarter and started to make some inroads themselves. Further chances were created by both sides looking for an opening, GB broke on the counter with Fiona Crackles and Ellie Rayer but just couldn’t control the ball for a final shot in the circle.
GB attacked in the opening seconds of the final quarter; this time Alex Malzer run in on goal resulted in a scramble in front of goal. GB appealed and won a penalty corner. Giselle Ansley’s powerful drag flick just sailed slightly too high over the top of the goal. Hannah Martin moments later created another chance from one her trademark runs, but no one was able to get on the end of her cross.
In an increasingly breathless game, Germany attacked down the left and the ball broke to Benedetta Wenzel whose strike just past the GB keeper for 1-0 to Germany.
GB forced another penalty corner, but the drag flick was judged too high hitting the runner. Down at the other end a run from Nike Lorenz, led to another scrambled shot saved by Amy Tennant.
Germany regained the ball and Pauline Heinz deftly finished flicking the ball into the right-hand side of the net to make it 2-0. They nearly made it three when Lorenz’s drag flick from a penalty corner hit the left-hand post.
Dutch come back to take the victory over Spain
The opening goal came on 12 minutes for Spain from a penalty corner, scored by Xavier Gispert. After an initial save, followed by another shot that hit the post, the ball was finally converted with a strike from the top of the circle. 1-0 to Spain after the first quarter.
A goal-less second quarter saw the Dutch come the closest with a series of penalty corners at end, but the Spanish defence held out. The Netherlands equalised early in the 3rd quarter, after an initial penalty corner drag flick was saved, the rebound went to Steijn van Heijningen who pushed the ball past the keeper.
With two seconds left in the quarter, the Dutch took the lead with a well taken flick from a narrow angle by Koen Bijen. They extended the lead further in the final quarter from Bijen again with a great deflected goal from a strike into the circle. Spain pulled a consolation goal back in the last minute from a penalty corner to make the final score it 3-2.