ON TARGET: Netherlands ace Billy Bakker got his name on the score-sheet during his team's contest against England on Thursday evening.
(Photo: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek)
England kicked off the first day of the NOW: Pensions Nations Cup with a tense but entertaining game against the Netherlands. It was a hard fought encounter which unfortunately saw England come out on the wrong side of the 2-1 result. The solitary England goal came from Reading’s Tom Carson.
Earlier in the evening, the England U21 men’s team left it late to score in the 69th
minute to come away with a deserved 3-3 draw against a strong U21 Malaysia side.
Speaking after the game England Head Coach Bobby Crutchley said, "We're always disappointed to lose a game, but this was definitely a better performance compared to last week in Hamburg. The Netherlands like to score goals and we stopped them from doing that tonight so I'm pleased about that part of our play. We need to work on our individual skills and our quality of possession to really hurt them, but we've got some good positives to take out of today."
England dominated in possession in the opening minutes of the game and the first attempt at goal came from Carson but Dutch goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann was fast to react to stifle the chance. A brief lapse in pressure was capitalised on by the Dutch after 14 minutes with Sander Baart passing into the circle for Billy Bakker to open the scoring, chipping the ball in to the top right corner.
In response, England upped the intensity of their attacking play, making more runs on goal but pressure from the Dutch defence forced errors and it was not long before the Netherlands were back in possession. Only a series of good saves from Reading’s James Bailey meant the score remained 1-0.
The first penalty corner of the game came in the 26th
minute against England and the Netherlands capitalised on their advantage to make it 2-0. Mink Van Der Weerden slotted the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal past Bailey to take a two goal cushion into the break.
England came back into the second half with a fighting spirit. Harry Martin and Phil Roper both pressed forward and created some good chances but the Dutch defence, led by captain Robert Van Der Horst, stood strong.
Play continued in an end to end style up until the 50th
minute where England found themselves on the attacking end of a penalty corner. The ball came out to Carson who dragged the ball low and to the right of Stockmann to take the score to 2-1 and give England hope of making a comeback.
England, spurred on by their success and the support of the home crowd, continued to attack, but unfortunately they were not able to convert their chances in the remaining minutes and the score remained 2-1.
Following the match, England’s Adam Dixon spoke about the gap between the third [Netherlands] and forth [England] ranked teams in the world, "The Netherlands are a really strong side, they have lost very few players since winning silver at the Olympics last year and that shows in their team play and how confident they are. It is very different for us, and obviously we’re playing a bit of catch up but we’re not that far behind. The first half was pretty even, they just took the chances that they had. We created just as many but weren’t quite as clinical; something that we need to address going ahead to the weekend’s games.”
Both Alastair Brogdon and Richard Smith were missing from the action today with slight injuries. Goalkeeper George Pinner also sat this one out as Bobby Crutchley called up James Bailey for his second cap.
Earlier in the evening the Malaysian and England U21 sides contested the first match of the NOW: Pensions Nations Plate. Goals from England’s Andy Bull and Luke Taylor and Malaysia’s Gaffar and Ja’Afar meant a 2-2 scoreline at half time. Malaysia regained the lead with a goal from Yusof in the 62nd
minute, but England’s Rob Farrington capitalised on a penalty corner in the closing minute of the game, bringing the final score to 3-3.
Tickets for the NOW: Pensions Nations Cup are being sold through Ticket Zone online, by clicking on the web button on England Hockey’s homepage www.englandhockey.co.uk
, or by calling the England Hockey ticket hotline on 08444 99 32 22. Family, multiple match and advanced ticket discounts are available.ResultENGLAND 1
Tom Carson 50 (PC)
Billy Bakker 14 (FG)
Mink Van Der Weerden 26 (PC)Source: England Hockey