Great Britain: FIH Pro League 2022/23: Mixed results for Great Britain in last home matches

Marc Reyne (9′) gave Spain the lead, but GB equalised through Nick Bandurak (23′). The home side then took the lead through Phil Roper (30′), but Spain got the better of GB as they added two goals through Borja Lacalle (33′) and Alvaro Iglesias (42′) to register a 3-2 win in an intense fixture.   

GB started the all-important game brightly as they earned back-to-back penalty corners inside the first two minutes of the match but missed out on capitalising on it. GB enjoyed the ball possession in the initial minutes, but Spain came up with a quick counter to open the scoring in the 9th minute. It was Reyne who gave the visitors a lead through his reverse flick from the top left side of the flank.  

GB responded immediately as they earned back-to-back penalty corners in the following minute, but the Spanish defensive line denied the home side from equalising. GB kept up the same intent, but the Spanish managed to end the opening quarter with a 1-0 lead.   

The start of the second quarter saw some breathless action as both teams looked for spaces inside each other’s half. GB with slightly better ball possession, went on to earn their fifth penalty corner of the match. It was Bandurak who scored on a rebound during the penalty corner routine to bring things back to level terms in the 23rd minute. 

The home side rode on the momentum as they went on to take the lead with a well-constructed team goal from the right flank. Roper chipped the ball into the net off a pass from James Oates from the baseline putting GB 2-1 ahead at the end of the second quarter.    

Spain started the third quarter on the front foot as they equalised in the 33rd minute through Lacalle’s reverse flick from the left flank. GB responded quickly as they forced a penalty corner, but Bandurak missed the target. Spain then earned a penalty corner, but goalkeeper Payne made an excellent save to deny the visitors from taking the lead. 

Spain took the advantage of 10-men GB side as they made it 3-2 through Iglesias’ field goal in the 42nd minute. They made attacking runs inside GB’s circle, but the home side cleared the danger to deny Spain from further scoring in the third quarter. 

Trailing by a goal, GB showcased urgency at the start of the final quarter. They came up with a relentless attack, making a flurry of circle entries, but couldn’t find an opening. Spain replied with back-to-back penalty corners in the 52nd minute, GB defensive unit stood tall to avert the danger. 

In what turned out to be an intense quarter, both teams created a series of chances, but neither could take advantage of it. GB had as many as three penalty corners in the following minutes but couldn’t take advantage of them. Spain on the quick breakout took the shot on target, but GB goalkeeper Mazarelo cleared the danger. GB then responded and earned two penalty corners in quick succession but couldn’t convert them.  

Down to nine men, GB took off the goalkeeper to put an extra outfield player on with less than a minute left on the clock. But Spain kept the ball away from the goal, to take home a 3-2 win. 

Sophie Hamilton (22′) and Lily Owsley (58′) scored a goal each for the winning team, while Sanne Caarls (45′) scored the solitary goal for the USA in a hard-fought clash. 

It was a quiet start to the first quarter, with GB dominating the ball possession and exchanging passes inside the USA’s half. They earned their first penalty corner in the 8th minute but missed out on converting it. 

The USA made a rare circle entry in the 10th minute and were successful in forcing a penalty corner but failed to capitalise on it. GB then piled pressure on the USA defence, but couldn’t find an opening, ending the first quarter at 0-0. 

The USA started the second quarter on the front foot and earned their second penalty corner of the match, but the GB defence cleared the ball and took control.  

They went on to break the deadlock in the 22nd minute through Hamilton, who scored from a rebound during the penalty corner routine. They almost doubled the lead through Sarah Jones’ field goal but was disallowed on a video referral from the USA. 

Persistent in their attacking approach, GB got a couple of penalty corner chances in the final minutes of the second quarter, but the USA denied GB from scoring the second goal. GB finished the second quarter with a slender 1-0 lead.   

A similar story unfolded in the third quarter as GB dominated the ball possession. They made various goalscoring opportunities but couldn’t convert them.  

The USA, who defended deep, went on to score the equaliser in the dying seconds of the third quarter. They sneaked into the home side’s circle and brought things back to level terms through Sanne’s field goal.  

Slowly gaining momentum, the USA made some inroads inside the GB striking circle but couldn’t cause much of a danger. GB, on the other hand, took control of the ball and earned as many as three penalty corners, but USA escaped the danger.  

GB continued with the same intent and finally regained the lead as Owsley slotted the ball home during a penalty corner routine in the 58th minute. USA came up with the final attack, but GB managed to nullify it and earned a hard-fought 2-1 win. 

by Great Britain Hockey

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