Belgium 1 (1)
Nelen (16’, FG)
Great Britain 2 (1)
Owsley (14’, PC); Robertson (45’, PC)
Sarah Robertson scored on her 50th Great Britain appearance to secure FIH Hockey Pro League victory over Belgium.
The midfielder swept home a well executed penalty corner routine right at the end of the third quarter, turning Anna Toman’s slap into the goal.
That came after Lily Owsley had handed Great Britain an early lead as she also deflected a corner into the Belgian net.
Barbara Nelen brought the hosts back level moments into the second quarter but it was Mark Hager’s side who came out on top, moving them to fourth in the table.
Owsley provided the moment of quality that separated the two teams at the end of a scrappy first quarter, her neat deflection on Toman’s slap giving Great Britain the lead.
That came just two minutes after Tess Howard had the game’s first effort saved by Elena Sotgiu after smart work inside the circle from Owsley.
The hosts came out with intent at the start of the second quarter however and levelled after just 30 seconds, Nelen sweeping the ball home after a fine turn and pass from Alix Gerniers.
Great Britain had the better of the chances in the remainder of the half but Sotgiu was on hand to thwart Owsley, Toman and Grace Balsdon from penalty corners.
Belgium began the second half firmly on the front foot, Michele Stuijk calling Sabbie Heesh into action in the first minute before having another effort deflected just over by Lizzie Neal.
Izzy Petter had a good chanced well saved by Sotgiu but there was nothing the Belgian could do to keep out Robertson’s effort right at the end of the third quarter.
That sparked a surge of confidence throughout the GB players as they pushed hard to find a third goal, with Sotgiu making saves from Susannah Townsend and Sarah Jones while Howard and Petter also had chances.
Alexia ‘T Serstevens had a chance to snatch a late equaliser for Belgium but she couldn’t get enough contact on a cross from Nelen.
It was the first win at the end of a long week for Great Britain’s women that had seen them draw with the Belgians the day before following a draw and a loss to The Netherlands.
After the game, Player of the Match Fiona Crackles said: “I think we’re a really resilient team. We’ve had four games in a week so we were feeling it in our legs but it didn’t really matter.
“We knew we had to leave nothing in the tank and grind it out because we know when it comes to the last quarter we can win that last quarter.
“We’re really happy. We came into this game saying we had to win, we couldn’t have anything less. Credit to everyone here, we put a massive shift in and it was a really well fought game.”
Great Britain’s women are next scheduled to be in action at home to Germany on 14-15 November in games that will be held behind closed doors at Bisham Abbey. Both games will be shown live on BT Sport.
Starting XI: Unsworth (C), Toman, Townsend, Robertson, Rayer, Howard, Heesh (GK), Owsley, Balsdon, Costello, Crackles
Subs (Used): Jones, Neal, Hunter, Petter, Hamilton
Subs (Unused): Dark, Pritchard (GK)
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