Despite turning around a two goal deficit with goals from Loughborough Students’ Nick Catlin, Surbiton’s Matt Daly and HGC’s Ashley Jackson, England went down narrowly to the Netherlands on Thursday afternoon in the first of two international tests in Seville.
In a match that England dominated for long periods, it was defensive lapses at the beginning and end of the game that cost England as Jeroen Hertzberger pounced twice to seal a 4-3 victory for the Dutch side ranked fourth in the world, two higher than England.
In this opening fixture, England were slow out of the blocks and HC Rotterdam’s Hertzberger opened the scoring after just two minutes when he fired past Cannock goalkeeper James Fair.
In a half of few clear cut chances, England’s James Tindall came close to equalising in the fifth minute and again in the 17th but he saw his shots saved by Dutch goalkeeper Guus Vogels and the score remained 1-0.
Teun de Nooijer then made things all the more difficult for England just before the half hour mark when he made it 2-0 but before the break Loughborough Students’ Nick Catlin netted his second senior England goal from close range to halve the deficit.
In a match that saw each side win just one penalty corner, all seven goals came from open play. Surbiton forward Matt Daly equalized for England in the 48th minute after a mazy dribble by Reading’s Jonty Clarke. Clarke’s run drew the defending players just before he slipped the ball across to the waiting Daly who was on hand to push the ball into the empty goal for 2-2. It was Daly’s 40th goal for England in this, his 88th England appearance.
After a period of superior pressure, England turned the score on its head ten minutes later through World Young Player of the Year and former East Grinstead midfielder Ashley Jackson. Fresh from scoring four goals in last Sunday’s National Indoor Hockey Championships final in Nottingham Jackson created England’s third goal for himself. After good work on the right hand side the 22 year old cut inside, played a one-two off the defending Dutch player and finished from close range to give England the lead for the first time in the game.
Two minutes later England’s players were grateful to James Fair for preserving the lead as he pulled off a fine save diving to his left to keep out a shot from the ever dangerous Teun de Nooijer on the hour mark.
After pressing hard for most of the match England began to tire late on and with the Oranje looking dangerous on the break they leveled through Rogier Hofman before winning the match through Hertzberger’s second in the final minute of the game. Going in search of a winning goal, England turned the ball over high up the pitch and de Nooijer countered, running the length of the pitch before passing to Hertzberger on the far post to hand the Dutch victory.
As his team undergoes its second intensive training camp in southern Spain in the space of a week, Jason Lee is happy with how the team is progressing towards the Hero Honda FIH World Cup in Delhi, which gets underway on Sunday 28 February. Speaking immediately after the match Lee said: “I’m pleased with the performance although obviously disappointed that sloppy play and the beginning and at the death have cost us the result.”
England’s squad for the Hero Honda FIH World Cup in Delhi, which runs from 28 February to 13 March, is yet to be finalised with one place in the 18 athlete squad still available to either Simon Mantell or James Tindall, both of who are recovering from broken foot injuries.
Nursing slight injuries, Beeston’s Alistair Wilson and Reading’s Iain Mackay both watched today’s match from the sidelines.
Netherlands-England 4:3 (2:1)
Goals Netherlands: Jeroen Hertzberger 2,70 (F,F), Teun de Nooijer 28 (F), Rogier Hofman 61 (F).
Goals England: Nick Catlin 30 (F), Matt Daly 48 (F), Ashley Jackson 58 (F)
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