In the penultimate of the five match test series, Great Britain were keen to return to winning ways. In front of a capacity crowd once again, Captain Kate Walsh led the visitors out on a day when she was also celebrating her 50th cap for Great Britain. It was finally Argentina that took the 1-0 victory.
Great Britain started strongly and had all the early pressure. The first opportunity came in the 7th minute when a cross found Craddock at the top of the D for a great reverse shot that was just wide.
GB kept control of the game and it was only a rare defensive error from Cullen that gifted Argentina a one on one opportunity at the other end that resulted in a bit of scramble before it was cleared. Cullen redeemed herself just a few minutes later when following a good run she sent a great cross through the D which the diving Williams was unlucky not to connect with.
For the rest of the half it was all GB but despite great controlling hockey, they could not break the deadlock and the first half ended 0 - 0.
The second half started in the same vein and just three minutes in Richardson made a great pass to Munn who had crept up the right hand side, Munn’s cross was slightly bobbling and Thomas could not quite get hold of it in the D.
Argentina fought hard to get back into the game and some basic GB errors allowed them a number of easy turnovers. It took until the 51st minute for the game to really switch to the home advantage when Richardson who had been upended moments before, was again on the end of a third party foul. Thinking she had won the free hit she stuck her foot out to stop the ball, but play continued and Argentina broke. Seconds later when the whistle was blown for a different foul, the clock was stopped and the umpire mistakenly sent Jo Ellis (Ipswich) to the sin bin with a yellow card.
The home team seized the initiative of having an additional player and piled on the pressure and won a penalty corner. The drag flick was well saved by goalkeeper Storry and GB broke, but lost the ball at the other end and again Argentina were on the attack. A couple of goal mouth scrambles could not be converted by the home team and GB managed to pull through the tough eight minutes of being down to ten players.
The luxury of 11 players on the field did not last long as Williams chasing a player down on her reverse was sent to the sin bin with a yellow card in the 60th minute and again GB were under pressure. Some creative hockey form the Argentineans earned them two penalty corners in the 63rd minute and despite defending the first well, they were unable to stop the drag and tip in from Gulla.
GB upped the tempo and came back strong but the prize of a well earned penalty corner from Ellis putting the ball on a foot in the D was unconverted with a flat drag which was saved. A few minutes later GB had another chance when a great pass from Captain Walsh found Thomas just outside the D. Thomas moved in quickly to the D for a fine strike which whistled passed the post. GB continued their efforts but the game ended 1 - 0 to Argentina.
Head Coach Danny Kerry said “We had total dominance in the first half which was the best 35 minutes of hockey we have played to date. Events beyond our control led to Argentinean pressure and an inevitable goal. However this is a fantastic experience at this stage of our development”
Great Britain play Argentina in the final test match on Tuesday at 1900.
Argentina – Great Britain 1-0 (0-0)
Gulla 63 (PC)
Source: Great Britain Hockey ltd.
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