Middleton disappointed after another World League deadlock

30 June 2013 / 17:20

England captain Barry Middleton backed his team to bounce back from a second consecutive draw at the hockey World League semi-finals in Malaysia.

Ollie Willars put Bobby Crutchley's side in control in the 13th minute only for Pakistan's Imran Muhammad to equalise from a penalty corner five minutes later.

Adam Dixon's well converted set-piece restored the lead but Abdul Haseem Khan struck in the second half to mean the pressure is now ahead of England's final group game against the tournament hosts.

“I’m a bit disappointed with the result," admitted Middleton, whose side drew 3-3 with South Africa in their World League opener.

"We knew if we won it would put us in a good spot in the competition and we had a chance to win it at the end like yesterday, but unfortunately it didn’t come off for us this time. 

"Having said that, I think given the chances both sides had, especially in the second half, it was probably a fair result. 

"There is a bit more pressure on us going into our next game now against Malaysia, but we’ve got a day to regroup and come back ready.”

But Crutchley, in his first major event since taking over the head coach role from Jason Lee, insisted his team showed resilience, despite the 2-2 scoreline.

“We were under the cosh for a good deal of the second half because we couldn’t hold on to possession, but in the periods where our passing was slicker we caused problems for Pakistan," he said.

"We just need to find that consistency. I was again impressed with the resilience that the group showed in the stifling conditions out here.”

© Sportsbeat 2013