England men’s head coach Bobby Crutchley admits it was far from a polished performance that saw his side advance to the semi-finals of the EuroHockey Championships, but insists all that matters is that they have made the final four.
Tom Carson was England’s hero as he scored both his side’s goals in a 2-2 draw with Ireland in Belgium.
Ireland started the brighter side but found themselves behind when Carson grabbed his first on seven minutes.
And Carson was at it again just over ten minutes later, doubling his and England’s tally as he turned Barry Middleton’s pass into the goal.
But despite heading into half-time looking comfortable England could not hold on and two goals from Ireland’s Shane O’Donoghue saw the match levelled.
However England knew a draw would be enough to see them head into the semi-final and held on despite some late Irish pressure, much to Crutchley’s delight.
He said: “I think the game was always going to be tight, and although there is a significant gap in the world rankings between us and Ireland [4th & 15th in the world respectively], we are a young team and are going through a rebuilding phase.
We knew how strong this Irish side was going to be and we never underestimated them coming into the tournament, especially because it was such a significant game.
“In the second half we weren't good enough on the ball, we had chances and we should have passed it better, so that was frustrating for me.
“Having said that, I am delighted because we got the result we needed and we're through to the semi-finals. I said when I got the job it was going to be a tough few months and I knew we'd have a lot of up and downs, but I'm really proud of the players, coming up against a very strong side and getting the resulted we needed."
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