England found wanting at the finish

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BILL COLWILL

reports from Dublin

Ireland 1 England 1

England faced a capacity partisan crowd here yesterday but maintained their unbeaten record in the European Championship and their top position in Pool B in a passionate game marred by inconsistent umpiring.

A disappointed coach, David Whitaker, said after the game: "We did enough to win, creating a lot of chances but failed to put the ball away." Ireland's Dutch coach, Cees Koppelaar, was delighted with the result, commenting: "The crowd was like a 12th man."

A rare goalkeeping error by Simon Mason in the 14th minute allowed Daniel Clarke to give Ireland the lead. A casual clearance from Phil McGuire was picked up by Colin Hade, who cut through the English defence to provide Clarke with the ball which he drove through Mason legs.

England's equaliser came on the stroke of half-time with Ireland reduced to nine men following temporary suspensions to Gerard Burns and Neil Cooke. Calum Giles converted a penalty corner to maintain his record of scoring in each of England's last seven games.

England dominated the second half. John Shaw created a number of chances and had the disappointment of seeing an effort stopped illegally on the line by Hade's shoulder with only a penalty corner awarded.

England play Belarus tomorrow and hope that Chris Mayer will have recovered from a hamstring injury.

IRELAND: I Bateman; G Burns; A Dowd, N Cooke, C Hade; J Kirkwood, M Sloane, R Taylor; D Clarke, A Dunne, L Canning. Substitutes used: D McAnulty, G Sterritt, J Stevenson.

ENGLAND: S Mason (Firebrands); P McGuire (Teddington), J Halls (Old Loughtonians); S Hazlitt ( Hounslow), Soma Singh (Southgate, capt), R Garcia (Polo Barcelona); B Sharpe, Kalbir Takher (both Cannock), R Thompson (Hounslow), J Laslett (Teddington), N Thompson (Old Loughtonians). Substitutes used: C Giles (Havant), J Shaw (Southgate).

Umpires: J Gorissen (Neth) and J-J Rommel (Ger).

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