Despite enjoying the better of highly competitive first half England were undone by a combination of fatigue and a couple of controversial umpiring decisions during their second and final test against Spain in Cadiz.
Having gone behind to an early Ed Tubau penalty stroke England responded with two goals before the half hour to take the lead. However, a Xavi Ribas goal before the break levelled things for Spain and Tubau’s second early in the second half restored the hosts’ advantage. Despite England’s efforts, Spain held on and scored a breakaway fourth late on to win 4-2.
Goalkeeper Nick Brothers, who made a number of good saves in the match, had to be alert early on as Spain won a third minute penalty corner. The Reading ‘keeper was up to the task and the score sheet remained blank. Two minutes later Ashley Jackson pounced on indecision deep in Spanish territory but could only watch as his rasping drive rebounded back out off the inside of the post.
Spain took the lead in controversial circumstances in the 13th minute when Richard Mantell was penalised for a clash of sticks inside the English circle as the Spanish forward shaped to shoot. The decision appeared to surprise both sets of players but Ed Tubau stepped up to flick the ball into the net to make it 1-0.
England were level from their first penalty corner of the match soon after; Ali Wilson of Beeston following up a goal mouth scramble to knock the ball home.
Since going behind England had enjoyed plenty of possession in the driving rain of Cadiz and when Jonty Clarke scored his 20th England goal on the half hour mark the 2-1 lead was no less than England deserved, however, it was to last just three minutes as Ribas flicked a penalty corner effort high beyond the outstretched glove of Brothers. 2-2 at the break.
Into the second half and after an intensive few day training in Spain, England began to tire. Spain took the lead four minutes into the half with a clever goal from Tubau. After robbing an English defender out in the corner he did well to come inside and score his second of the game to give the hosts the lead again.
England threw men forward in search of an equaliser as the match wore on but Spain sealed victory after a quick counter attached in the last minute of the game won them their fourth penalty corner. Gaby Dabanch finished off a fine routine at the top of the circle.
Afterwards, Head Coach Jason Lee said: “This has been a physically hard training camp for the group and I’m pleased with what we’ve achieved here. After a good first half today fatigue began to show in the closing stages. Overall, I’m happy with the first steps we’ve taken towards the World Cup at the end of February.”
Spain-England 4:2 (2:2)
Goals Spain: Ed Tubau 13, 39 (PS, F), Xavi Ribas 33 (PC), Gaby Dabanch 70 (PC)
Goals England: Alistair Wilson 19 (PC), Jonty Clarke 30 (F)
Source: England Hockey
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