Simon Mantell admitted he hardly had time to think as he fired in a late winner to help England’s men claim their first win of the 2014 Hockey World Cup in the Hague.
England went into the game against India in the Netherlands looking for their first win of the tournament having drawn their opening match against Spain.
And after a start that saw few chances for either side, England took the lead on 27 minutes when Mark Gleghorne found the top corner from their first penalty corner of the game.
The lead did not last long though as India equalised within three minutes – Dharamvir Singh launching in a shot which deflected past keeper George Pinner to leave the score 1-1 at half-time.
India continued to put their opponents under pressure after the break, with England forced to defend, and Pinner required to make a fine reaction save to deny Mandeep Singh.
But with time almost up, Ashley Jackson won England a penalty corner and while the initial shot was blocked, Mantell was on hand to fire in from the angle for a 2-1 win.
It leaves England second in group A ahead of Thursday’s next match against Malaysia, but with the top two teams qualifying to the semi-finals, Mantell was under no illusions as to the importance of his late goal.
“Those types of goals are just reaction, you hit it when you see it and you don’t really think about it more than that,” he said. “I’m just glad we got the opportunity at the end there and got three points.
“India are an incredibly dangerous team, I think their coach Terry Walsh has done a great job the last couple of years. They are playing a lot more consistently than they have in past years.
“It is an incredibly important result, the draw we got against Spain two days ago was a little bit disappointing because we created a lot of chances.
“I think we made a similar amount, maybe a few less, but we kept possession well and I’m just glad it paid off in the end.”
© Sportsbeat 2014