Great Britain Men went down fighting 2-4 in the shootout against India in their third match of the FIH Hockey Pro League London mini tournament held at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Saturday.
After an intense 4-4 draw in the regulation time, Great Britain could manage to convert only two of their four attempts in the shootout, while India converted all four to bag an extra point. Will Calnan and Zach Wallace were on target, while Ruper Shipperley and Phil Roper missed out on converting their chances, thus going down 4-4 (2-4 SO). With 26 points in 11 matches thus far, GB are still on top of points table.
In the regulation time, Sam Ward scored all four goals for the home side, while Harmanpreet Singh (7′), Mandeep Singh (19′), Sukhjeet Singh (28′) and Abhishek (50′) scored a goal each for India.
GB got off the blocks swiftly and had two shots on target inside the first five minutes of the match. Zach Wallace’s first shot was saved by the Indian goalkeeper, while his second went flying past the far post. They went on to earn back-to-back penalty corners, but India cleared the danger.
The visitors broke the deadlock as their captain Harmanpreet Singh converted the penalty corner in the 7th minute, but GB responded immediately with a penalty corner and scored the equaliser through Sam Ward in the following minute. They enjoyed the ball possession throughout the first quarter and earned yet another penalty corner in the final minute, but missed out on converting it.
India restored the lead in the 19th minute through Mandeep Singh who scored from an open play. GB continued in the same vein, kept applying pressure on their opponents, but couldn’t find an opening. They were then presented with as many as four penalty corners in the 27th minute but missed out on capitalising on it. India, in return, scored one more field goal in the following minute. Sukhjeet Singh’s tomahawk shot gave the away side a 3-1 lead at the end of the first half.
It was an even start to the second half as both teams showcased good attacking and defensive skills. GB won yet another penalty corner of the match, but captain David Ames’ slap shot was saved by the Indian goalkeeper.
A few minutes later, they won another penalty corner, and this time Ward made no mistake in converting it, to make it 2-3 in the 40th minute. GB gained much-needed momentum as they won a series of penalty corners in the closing stage of the quarter, but the Indian defence averted the danger.
In the very first minute of the final quarter the away side earned another penalty corner, but the GB defence blocked the opportunity to deny India from scoring.
The home side responded immediately as Ward scored the equaliser and completed his hat-trick in the 47th minute. Tom Sorsby made a brilliant pass to Ward inside the circle, who slotted the ball home with ease.
India then regained the lead through Abhishek in the 50th minute, but the in-form Ward yet again equalised, scoring his and the team’s fourth goal in the 53rd minute. They won yet another penalty corner but missed out on converting the opportunity.
In the final period India forced a series of penalty corners, on the first Harmanpreet shot wide of the goal. With two minutes left, India won yet another penalty corner, but excellent running by the GB defence denied the visitors from scoring which pushed the game into the first shootout of the FIH Pro League London mini tournament.