China recorded a fine FIH Pro League victory on the road on Friday, getting the better of hosts Great Britain at the Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre. All of the goals came in the third quarter of the match, with Great Britain’s Giselle Ansley netting a penalty corner to cancel out Ou Zixia’s deflected opener before Peng Yang scored what proved to be the winner with a superb penalty corner deflection in the 44th minute.
It was China’s third win of the FIH Pro League and sees them remain in eighth position but they have improved their points percentage to 27.8, closing the gap on seventh placed Great Britain – who have 29.2 percent – in the process.To see the current women’s FIH Pro League standings, click here.
There were chances for both sides in two very even opening two quarters, but neither side could make the most of their opportunities. Great Britain (WR:2) – who claimed a bonus point in the reverse fixture in Changzhou thanks to a shoot-out victory – largely dominated the second quarter, but China (WR:10) were organised in defence and soak up the pressure throughout.
The game burst into life in the third quarter, with Great Britain’s Tessa Howard stinging the hands of China goalkeeper Ye Jiao in the opening seconds of a frenetic period. China took the lead rather fortuitously when Ou Zixia’s attempted pass from the right was kicked into her own net by the back-tracking Anna Toman, but Giselle Ansley soon levelled with a low penalty corner effort that clipped the pads of Ye before finding the bottom right corner. However, China restored their lead before the end of the period, with Peng Yang scoring a brilliant penalty corner deflection to give the visitors a lead going into the final period.
Great Britain put the visitors under great pressure in the fourth quarter but could not get the breakthrough, with China’s defence showing full commitment to claim all three points from the contest.
“It’s hugely disappointing result”, said Laura Unsworth, a player who made her 100th appearance for Great Britain in this match. “In the last few matches we have taken great strides forward, and we need to keep working and training and I think it will come together.”
The FIH Pro League action continues on Saturday (4 May) when Great Britain men take on Spain in London before Argentina’s men and women take on the national teams of Australia in Buenos Aires. To see the complete match schedule, click here