Hockey: Garcia's grace under pressure

Hockey: England 2 Korea 1
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The Independent Online
ENGLAND yesterday bounced back from Saturday's defeat to Australia in their opening game in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup - when they showed plenty of enterprise without the final finish - displaying both courage and initiative to overcome a strong and experienced Korean side.

England's victory was fashioned around a solid defensive performance, in which the goalkeeper Jimi Lewis made a series of fine saves, and a skilful and aggressive performance from Russell Garcia, sealed with two powerful penalty corner goals.

England more than matched the Koreans at their speed game, Garcia, playing in the deep centre forward role, being instrumental in just about every attack.

A well won penalty corner by Kalbir Takher provided Garcia with his first opportunity in the 17th minute. His second came just four minutes before the interval. Although England tired during the second half with temperatures in the high 30Cs, they showed determination to hold the Koreans until five minutes from the end when they pulled a goal back through Seok Kyo Shin.

Although under pressure for much of the half, England created a number of chances and, but for weak finishing, would have won by a wider margin.

ENGLAND: J Lewis (Cannock); B Garrard (Teddington), J Halls (HDM), J Wyatt (Reading), B Waugh (Southgate, capt); Kalbir Takher (Cannock), J Pidcock (Cannock), N Thompson (Old Loughtonians); C Mayer (Cannock), R Garcia (HDM), J Lee (Old Loughtonians). Substitutes used: A Humphrey, B Sharpe (both Cannock), M Pearn, Manpreet Kochar (both Reading).

KOREA: Jin Soo Koo; Jong Ha Jeon, Beung Kook Han, Hyung Bae Han, Myung Jun Cho (capt); Yong Kyun Jeong, Seok Kyo Shin, Moon Ki Yoo; Seong Tae Song, Keon Wook Kang, Kyung Seup Hong. Substitutes used: Shin Heum Park, Young Hwang Lee, Young Kyu Kim.

Umpires: K Ananthavale (Malay) and P Schellekens (Neth).