Hockey: Mathews' late penalty ensures dramatic win

By Bill Colwill
Sunday 26 January 2014 02:59
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While England's women beat Canada with a confident 6-1 performance the men struggled to complete a double with a 2-1 win.

David Mathews scored with less than two minutes remaining from a hotly disputed penalty stroke.

In a goalless, pedestrian first half, only a fine diving save from Jimmi Lewis denied Robert Short putting the Canadians ahead, but England opened the second half with more purpose, Jon Wyatt giving them the lead in the 42nd minute at a penalty corner. The initiative was immediately lost through the temporary suspension of Brett Garrard, however, as Short scored the equaliser with England's defence in a tangle.

It was now Canada's turn to turn on the pressure with only a timely tackle by Rob Todd and a couple of fine saves from Lewis holding the line. Even after Mathews goal there was still time for a last minute Canadian effort and a penalty corner with the unusual sight of all five defenders charging down shot.

After a frustrating, goalless first half of missed opportunities, England's women eventually got the ball in the Canadian net four minutes into the second half when Jane Smith dived in at the far post from a Mel Clewlow penalty corner shot to score the first of her three goals.

Six minutes later Kate Walsh scored England's second before Smith collected hers. Then Rachel Walker, receiving the ball from Jennie Bimson, scored a dream goal. Turning the whole Canadian defence as she spun on the spot the Olton midfielder scored with a devastating reverse stick shot from the edge of the circle.

A streaker broke England's concentration as Canada pulled a goal back at a penalty corner through Meggan Hunt but Anna Bennett, whose speed had been a thorn in the Canadian defence throughout, restored England's four goal margin within 40 seconds before Smith completed her first international hat trick.

England's coach Tricia Herberle said after the game: "We had to grind them down."

"The most pleasing aspect for me is that we persisted. We stayed calm and focused on opening up Canada. I was also pleased because we played maturely," she added.

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