In the first of two BDO FIH World Cup warm up games for the England women this week England went down 3-2 to the USA. Leicester’s Katie Long scored both of England’s goals as they responded too late to going 3-0 down at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre.
First half goals from American captain Keli Smith and Michelle Kasold gave the visitors a 2-0 half time lead and Rachel Dawson added a third shortly after the break. Leicester’s Long was on the end of Helen Richardson’s pass from a penalty corner just before the hour mark to pull one back for England and the 22 year old bagged her brace deflecting home with five minutes to go.
In preparation for the BDO FIH World Cup, which gets underway in Rosario, Argentina, at the end of the month, England faced an American team that is ranked in tenth, just four places lower in the world rankings than sixth placed England. USA narrowly missed out on a place in Rosario after losing to Korea in the Ata Holding World Cup Qualifier on home turf in San Diego in April.
England got off to a positive start, winning a penalty corner within two minutes of the start. The low flick from the top was saved by Jacklyn Kintzer in the USA goal and she followed up with a second save, this time from Leicester’s Katie Long.
The visitors took the lead with just under quarter of an hour on the clock when their captain Keli Smith latched onto a pass into the circle and fired the ball low into the bottom corner past the outstretched foot of Clifton’s Gemma Ible in goal.
The goal inspired the USA who threatened again five minutes later through Katie O’Donnell but the English defence was on hand to snuff out the danger.
England struggled to find their rhythm for much of the first half and Ible had to be alert to save from Michelle Kasold with just over 30 minutes played. With England on the back foot they conceded again just before the break when a cross into the circle was deflected past Ible by Kasold.
Leicester’s Chloe Rogers and Reading forward Alex Danson combined well in the opening minute of the second half to set up Danson for an effort on goal but her effort went wide of Kintzer’s post.
On 42 minutes, the USA added a third goal from the stick of Rachel Dawson after good work by Smith, who picked the ball up on the run before feeding Dawson who diverted it home on the post.
England had won two first half penalty corners and from the first of their four second half set pieces Crista Cullen saw her knee height flick turned behind before, at the other end, Kasold had a low shot saved by Ible.
3-0 down and with the match entering its final quarter, England began to gain a foothold in the match and Cullen flicked another effort low and wide of the post.
From a penalty corner with 12 minutes remaining England pulled a goal back through Katie Long. At the top of the circle the ball was switched to Reading’s Helen Richardson and the former Leicester and Den Bosch midfielder found Long at the far post who scored to make it 3-1.
American Katelyn Falgowski saw green for a stick tackle with eight minutes remaining and just after the USA returned to their full complement of players, England pulled another one back. Again it was Long converting inside the circle, this time from the cross of Reading’s Jo Ellis. 3-2 with five minutes remaining.
Ellis was in trouble moments after the goal, shown a yellow card that meant England finished with ten and Gemma Ible was called upon with three minutes remaining to snuff out a US effort.
In the final minute, Bowdon Hightown’s Sally Walton crossed in search of a late equaliser but England could not convert and it finished 3-2.
Afterwards, Head Coach Danny Kerry said a poor first period and individual errors had cost his side on the day: “In the first ten minutes we should have taken the lead but didn’t. We missed an open goal and a stupid error at the back gave the USA the lead. They had more belief than us and we lost our way a bit. In the last 20 minutes of the second half we got back to playing hockey, we got on top and we pulled two goals back but it was too late by then.”
The sides meet again on Thursday in the second and final test before Kerry names his 18 athlete squad for the BDO FIH World Cup.
England-USA 2-3 (0-2)
Goals England: Katie Long 58, 65 (PC, F)¨
Goals USA: Keli Smith 14 (F), Michelle Kasold 34 (F), Rachel Dawson 42 (F)
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