England’s women lost their second and final Test against the USA at Bisham Abbey, going down 5-1 after surrendering an early first half lead.
Leicester defender Crista Cullen had given England the lead from a ninth minute penalty corner but Katie O’Donnell got the USA back into the match two minutes later and Jesse Gey and Keli Smith added goals for the Americans before half time.
England struggled to create meaningful opportunities in the second period and were punished with two further goals from Gey and Katelyn Falgowski.
England Head Coach Danny Kerry admitted afterwards, “the USA were better than us, more committed than us and fully deserved their victory.”
This was England’s last match before the announcement of the squad that will travel to Rosario in Argentina for the BDO FIH World Cup at the end of the month and it saw the return of Leicester’s Beckie Herbert following a three month lay-off after hip surgery.
Both sides created half chances in the opening minutes of the game before England were awarded the first penalty corner of the match, which Jaclyn Kintzer saved from Crista Cullen low to her right.
With nine minutes on the clock, from their second corner, England took the lead. Georgie Twigg’s injection to the top of the circle was trapped well for Leicester’s Cullen to flick low into the bottom left corner to put England one up.
No sooner had England taken the lead though than they found themselves pegged back by Katie O’Donnell. O’Donnell broke through the centre of the English defence one-on-one with goalkeeper Beth Storry. Storry stayed big as O’Donnell attempted a clipped finish over the onrushing Reading ‘keeper, saving the initial effort, which rebounded to the supporting American forward. Quick thinking saw the ball returned to O’Donnell and she made no mistake second time around, finishing past Kate Walsh on the line.
Two minutes later O’Donnell caused England more trouble, keeping possession through three tackles before getting off her shot which Storry saved.
At the other Kintzer made another save from a Cullen penalty corner flick before Slough’s Ashleigh Ball did the defensive work at a USA corner, deflecting the shot out to safety.
The visitors were beginning to enjoy more control of the game and they took the lead in the 26th minute through Jesse Gey, who received a cross from the right in the middle of the circle and unleashed a mid-height shot into the back of the net to put USA 2-1 up.
On the half hour mark and with England probing for an equaliser they found themselves with players inside the American circle but the final pass missed its intended target and USA’s lead remained intact.
USA went into half time 3-1 up after Keli Smith scored their third from close range in the 31st minute.
The second half began with an American penalty corner that went wide of Storry’s goal and England failed to convert a corner of their own in the 42nd minute after Leicester’s Kerry Williams found a foot in the circle.
Jesse Gey bagged her second of the match in the 51st minute, effectively putting the game beyond England and Katelyn Falgowski completed the scoring with 14 minutes remaining. Storry had saved the initial effort from an acute angle but as the ball bounced into the circle, Falgowski reacted quickest to fire home to make it 5-1.
A disappointed Danny Kerry admitted afterwards that his side had been beaten by a hungrier team on the day: “The USA were better than us, more committed than us and fully deserved their victory.”
England’s World Cup squad will be announced on Monday.
England-USA 1-5 (1-3)
Goal England: Crista Cullen 9 (PC)
Goals USA: Katie O'Donnell 11 (F), Jesse Gey 26, 51 (F, PC), Keli Smith 31 (F), Katelyn Falgowski 56 (F)
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