England bounce back for bronze at Hockey World League Semi-finals

England bounce back for bronze at Hockey World League Semi-finals

23 July 2017 / 11:57

A second-half blitz from England saw them end their Hockey World League Semi-final campaign on a high by clinching bronze in Johannesburg.

A lively clash with world no.3 side Argentina on Sunday morning ended with England as 5-2 winners – the perfect way to bounce back from the heartbreak of a penalty shootout loss to USA in the semi-finals on Thursday.

Sophie Bray and Susannah Townsend both found the net before half-time but Argentina also beat Maddie Hinch on two occasions to leave the score locked at 2-2.

But England kicked on in the third and fourth periods as a well-taken brace from Giselle Ansley, and a Laura Unsworth effort, guided them to victory to end their stay in South Africa with a smile.

“Argentina are a very good team and it’s so hot at the moment, so we knew it was going to be a big game,” explained Lily Owsley.

“Obviously it wasn’t the bronze medal match that we wanted to face them in but I’m proud of how we came out here and won by a convincing amount.

“All in all it’s a good tournament to learn from and it’s always important to win your last game, so I’m happy.”

Owsley caused chaos in the Argentina defence all game long and was the architect of England’s first-quarter opener – breaking down the right, driving powerfully into the circle and seeing her cutback eventually converted by Bray from close-range.

Lucina Von der Heyde fired an unstoppable reverse stick strike into Hinch’s bottom corner to level proceedings but when Nicola White’s cross from the right wing found Townsend, the 27-year-old made no mistake in slotting a first-time effort home.

Susannah Townsend

Argentina again responded just before half-time as Delfina Merino made it 2-2 with a clever deflection but there was only one team in it come the second half.

Hannah Martin hit the post before Jo Hunter crossed to Unsworth to tap in for 3-2 and when Alex Danson won a penalty corner, Ansley was on hand to fire home a powerful drag flick.

There was still time for the cherry to be put on top of the icing as yet another storming Owsley run saw her cover half the pitch and get brought down by Argentina goalkeeper Belen Succi, with Ansley duly converting the penalty to seal a 5-2 triumph.

“I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus! I’m tired,” admitted Owsley after her exploits.

“To win the penalty, I knew the ball was coming out and I knew it was two v one or one v one and I’ve got pace above most players, so I thought ‘chuck and run, why not’.

“Then when I got one-on-one with the keeper, I knew to take it round her and I knew she would have to commit. I got the foul and it was well-taken by Gis, so all in all – a good game.”

Sportsbeat 2017

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