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Hockey - 22. January 2008.

EuroHockey Indoor Nations Challenge, England (Women) v Denmark

Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Sheffied








Sarah Page 16,39 (F,F)

Marianne Nielsen 22 (F)

Alex Scott 29 (F)

Matilde Lundberg 34 (F)

Cathy Gilliat-Smith 37 (F)

Sally Walton 38 (PC)

Despite twice being pegged back by a strong Denmark side, England’s ladies picked up their second win of the tournament to take the three points to move clear at the top of their EuroHockey Indoors Nations Challenge group.

The home team had much of the possession in the first half, and with it plenty of pressure on Mie Petersen in the Danish goal. Petersen was on form to deny Cathy Gilliat-Smith early on, after the England forward had been put through by captain Sally Walton.

Again Gilliat-Smith was in the thick of things just moments later, this time turned provider, but her cross was just inches too far ahead of Emma Thomas as the goal beckoned.

A trio of English penalty corners came and went without troubling the scorers, despite good efforts by Natasha Brennan and Thomas again, who was once more denied by Petersen.

Just four minutes before half-time a cross field ball found Sarah Page unmarked to open the scoring and give England the lead at the interval.

Buoyed by the vocal support of the watching Swedish team, Denmark were soon level as Marianne Nielsen poked the ball beneath Becky Duggan after a cross from the right. England replied with further pressure, and only the good work of goalkeeper Petersen stopped Thomas and then Alex Scott from scoring.

It was Scott though who put England back in front, beating Petersen low to her left after Brennan’s ball had found her in the circle.

The lead didn’t last long however, as Denmark counter-attacked from an English penalty corner and Matilde Lundberg finished off the flowing move to make it two apiece, with a little over five minutes remaining.

Far from panicking though, England remained calm and a final flurry saw a brace of goals from Gilliat-Smith and Walton, before Page received the ball in the centre of the pitch, and turned escaping the attentions of the pursuing defenders to fire home and round out the scoring, assuring the watching fans of an English victory.

Speaking afterwards, Assistant Coach Richard Organ was happy with the result saying “We created a lot of chances and their keeper played well, a bit unorthodox at times but kept the ball out of the net and they defended our penalty corners very well. The nice thing is we’re trying to work on not panicking, whatever the result is just keep playing, and that shows as we scored three goals near the end.

“It’s very rare to keep a clean sheet indoors, but I think we have the ability in the squad with the people we can change in and out to keep scoring at the end of matches and that’s important.”

ENGLAND TEAM: Becky Duggan (GK, C), Heather Batten, Philippa Newton, Natalie Seymour, Harriet Cunningham, Alex Scott, Cathy Gilliat-Smith, Sarah Page, Natasha Brennan, Sally Walton, Emma Thomas

DENMARK TEAM: Mie Petersen (GK), Louise Hansen, Lotte Jorgensen, Marie Jensen, Marianne Nielsen, Katrine Dunham, Janne Nielsen (C), Charlotte Rasmussen, Matilde Lundberg

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