Netherlands 1 Great Britain 1 (Netherlands win shootout 3-1)
The FIH Pro League resumed in Amsterdam with Great Britain coming back from an early setback to force a 1-1 draw with the Netherlands before losing 3-1 in the shootout.
With several Great Britain players absent through injury and the aftermath of surgery, Laura Unsworth wore the captain’s armband, whilst the Netherlands went into the game in confident mood.
The hosts’ confidence was well founded as they took the lead after just 89 seconds, Margot van Geffen playing the ball from deep in her own half towards Laurien Leurink, the ball bouncing kindly into the path of Pien Dicke who ran from just inside the halfway line to mount a breakaway attack. Dicke evaded Great Britain goalkeeper, Sabbie Heesh to slot the ball home and give the Netherlands the perfect start.
However, Great Britain responded well, taking the game to the Netherlands without creating any real chances. On debut, Fiona Crackles ran into the circle only for the Dutch to defend competently as usual and threaten to counter attack with Laura Nunnink.
Kyra Fortuin had two shots in the first half, the second across the circle and past the left post to keep the British defence alert. Great Britain had their first penalty corner in the 25th minute, but Grace Balsdon’s shot hit Maria Verschoor.
Great Britain were also in the wars with Sarah Evans coming off worst after a tackle early in the third quarter. The visitors still struggled to mount a shot on goal and were frustrated in the 34th minute when Lily Owsley’s cross from the right completely missed Sarah Robertson at the far post.
Four minutes later, Heesh had to make a brilliant reaction save after Anna Toman inadvertently deflected the ball towards goal from Lidewij Welten’s cross from the left.
The Netherlands lost their right to a video referral in the 42nd minute when Eva De Goede tried unsuccessfully to overturn a penalty corner award to Great Britain. At the second attempt, Toman forced a fine save from Anne Veenendaal who replaced Josine Koning in the Dutch goal at half time, but a minute later Great Britain were level, Jo Hunter perfectly positioned to score from close range.
The goal came with the Netherlands down to ten players after Ilse Kappelle was shown a yellow card in the 40th minute for a foul on Sarah Jones. Neither side could find a goal in the fourth quarter, with the Netherlands not having any penalty corner opportunities, so with both teams guaranteed a point, a shootout decided which team would get a second point.
Pien Saanders went first for the Netherlands, spinning round before beating Heesh. Ellie Rayer found the backboard to level things up at 1-1 before Xan De Waard was tripped by Heesh, a decision confirmed by a video referral. Caia van Maasakker made no mistake from the resulting penalty stroke.
Tess Howard missed the chance to level up for a second time after Veenendaal saved her first shot and the rebound was sent wide of the left post. Welten blasted the ball into the roof of the net to put the Netherlands 3-1 up and when Owsley had a shot saved and the ball ran out of the circle, the Dutch were almost home and dry.
There was still some drama to come as Margot van Geffen had the potential winner saved by Heesh before Izzy Petter was caught by Veenendaal but no penalty stroke was awarded due to the judgement that Petter had lost control of the ball as the game ended in anti-climax.
The teams will face each other again on Thursday at 3.30 pm GMT.
Scorer: Pien Dicke 2-F
Starters: Laurien Leurink, Xan De Waard, Maria Verschoor, Lidewij Welten, Caia van Maasakker, Ireen van den Assem, Lauren Stam, Josine Koning (GK), Margot van Geffen, Eva de Goede (Capt.), Pien Dicke
Subs: Anne Veenendaal (GK), Sanne Koolen, Ginella Zerbo, Pien Sanders, Laura Nunnink, Kyra Fortuin, Ilse Kappelle.
Cards: Yellow: Ilse Kappelle (40 mins).
Scorer: Jo Hunter 43-F
Starters: Laura Unsworth (Capt.), Sarah Evans, Anna Toman, Susannah Townsend, Sarah Robertson, Ellie Rayer, Tess Howard, Lizzie Neal, Sabbie Heesh, Lily Owsley, Grace Balsdon.
Subs: Sarah Jones, Jo Hunter, Amy Costello, Izzy Petter, Sophie Hamilton, Fiona Crackles, Miriam Pritchard (GK).
Umpires: Céline Martin-Schmets (BEL) and Jonas van’t Hek (NED)