England battle to tense draw as Middleton reaches 400th appearance

England battle to tense draw as Middleton reaches 400th appearance

04 December 2017 / 16:30
Four hundred international games and counting have come Barry Middleton's way but very few will have had drama anywhere near this milestone match.

His England side held on for dear life as their Hockey World League Final pool stage ended in a thrilling 2-2 draw, with Australia coming within whiskers of snatching the win in India.

Twice they hit the post in the final play from a penalty corner, the last of four that England faced in the final minute alone in their bid to reach the latter stages.
But the Gods smiled down on the celebrating Olympian Middleton, with Phil Roper scoring just six minutes from time to level the game up.

England had taken the lead in the clash, Liam Ansell scoring with just four minutes on the clock for an advantage that was held until the break.

But Australia - who also drew their previous two games - fought back as they too maintained bigger Hockey World League Final ambitions.

Dylan Wotherspoon made the most of regular pressure to level up, while Blake Govers had forced a lead for the first time in the match.

But after the equaliser England somehow held out, with their progression now in the hands of Germany and India, the hosts needing a win to progress.

Sportsbeat 2017

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