Hockey: Britain draw on Smith's power to see off Americans

Great Britain 4 United States 1
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The Independent Online
JANE SMITH'S penalty-corner striking proved the difference as Great Britain opened their Olympic build-up preparations in the first of three Tests at Milton Keynes with a rousing 4-1 victory over the United States yesterday.

It was Smith who won Britain's first penalty corner in the ninth minute, and from her fine shot Rhona Simpson collected the rebound off the pad of the goalkeeper, Jane Withrow, to send Great Britain into a one goal lead.

Three minutes later Britain went further ahead when Smith slammed her third penalty-corner shot into the backboards for the second.

Poor marking by the British defence at an American free hit on the edge of the circle allowed Cindy Werley to deflect the ball into the roof of the net to bring the visitors within reach.

But Smith restored the advantage with her second 20 minutes into the second half. Tina Cullen jabbed home Britain's fourth from a melee in the final minute.

The Great Britain coach, Jon Royce, while pleased with a win in his first game, was disappointed with his squad's performance. "It worries me that we are so nervy. Under pressure the basics were lacking," he said.

That was not surprising, as nine of the squad were winning their first Great Britain caps. Royce should be more worried by the way the Americans, when they did attack, got behind the British defence and the ease with which his front-runners missed open goals from good scoring positions. The second Test takes place tonight.

GREAT BRITAIN: T Robb (Scotland); S Chandler (capt), M Clewlow, F Greenham (all England), E Rochlin (Scotland); J Smith, M Nicholson, D Marston-Smith; S Blanks (all England), R Simpson (Scotland), L King (England). Substitutes used: C Reid, K Bowden, T Cullen, J Sixsmith and K Walsh (all England).

UNITED STATES: J Withrow; J Reeve (capt); T Larson, K Kauffman, C DeBow; J Toepel, T Fuchs, A Lucas; M Vizzuso, C Werley, K James. Substitutes used: C Sommer, C Tagliente, M Smith, N Pelligreen and L Cellucci.

Umpires: J Duncan (Scotland) and M Brainard (United States).