(Photo: © FIH / Matias Aguirre)

Great Britain claimed a well deserved and memorable victory over Argentina in Salta on Thursday evening with goals from Kate Walsh and Hannah Macleod, her first for GB, completing a superb comeback after the hosts had taken the lead in the 11th minute.

The victory is no less than the young Great Britain side deserve having shown marked signs of development over the first four matches in the five test series.  Great Britain are ranked seventh in the world (based on the Nominated Country, England’s, position) while Argentina are ranked second. 

Throughout the series Las Leonas have won numerous penalty corners and events continued in this vain with the umpire awarding the hosts a set piece in the very first minute of the match.  Great Britain have defended corners well though and the danger passed as quickly as it had arrived. 

An unsuccessful British corner came and went before Argentina took the lead through Silvina D’Elia in the 11th minute; the goal was her third in three consecutive matches.

Great Britain worked well to get themselves back level midway through the first half when captain Kate Walsh scored from GB’s second corner of the game.  The ball to the top of the circle was slipped left twice to Reading’s Walsh who slapped home for the equaliser. 

The goal boosted GB who put Argentina under pressure at another corner immediately afterwards but Argentina survived the scare, eventually clearing the loose ball.

Just prior to half time, Walsh’s Reading teammate Helen Richardson had a drag flicked effort well saved by Las Leonas goalkeeper Succi while at the other end GB cleared a Noel Barrionuevo effort.

Into the second half and Great Britain piled on the pressure in search of their first win in the series.  Bowdon Hightown defender Sally Walton nearly put the visitors 2-1 ahead in the 42nd minute but she was thwarted by Succi.  Then Katie Long’s cross into the circle found Beckie Herbert but she failed to convert.

Two Argentinean corners followed GB’s spell of possession but the defence stood firm.  At the other end Alex Danson had a chance inside the circle but shortly after it was Hannah Macleod who scored what would become the winning goal.  A quick break down field saw Macleod’s first effort saved by Succi but the clearance rebounded back past her and into the goal to make it 2-1.  The goal was the 25 year old Leicester forward’s first for Great Britain.

With just over ten minutes remaining Argentina’s search for an equaliser was not helped by the yellow card shown to goal scorer D’Elia and GB looked to control the match as it entered its final stages.

Even after the return of D’Elia, and with all of the hosts’ players, bar the goalkeeper, in the GB half Great Britain held firm for a memorable and thoroughly deserved victory.

After the match Head Coach Danny Kerry was pleased with the outcome and with the progression his young side had shown in the week since they arrived in South America: “I thought the win reflected the balance of play tonight.  It was a very thorough and professional performance and we deserved to win.  You can see from the way we played that the young players in particular have learnt a great deal from coming here.”

Argentina-Great Britain 1:2 (1:1)
Goal Argentina: Silvina D’Elia 11 (PC)
Goals Great Britain: Kate Walsh 23 (PC), Hannah Macleod 51 (F)

Source: Great Britain Hockey ltd.