Harry Martin and George Pinner play vital roles as England claim bronze medal
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich-born duo Harry Martin and George Pinner both played vital roles as England claimed the bronze medal at the World League tournament in Malaysia with a 2-1 win over Korea.
Martin scored what proved to be the winner, while Pinner then made a crucial late save as their in-form opponents pushed for an equaliser.
After conceding three goals early on in their semi-final defeat to Argentina, England set out to prove that lessons had been learnt. Bobby Crutchley’s men looked assured and back to their composed approach, building play up patiently and waiting for the right opening.
With 13 minutes played Beeston’s Ben Arnold poached the ball from the Korean defence and used his pace to drive across the circle to create space for the strike. The speed and accuracy beat Myung Ho Lee in Korea’s goal to make it 1-0 and give Arnold his second goal of the tournament.
England continued with the same approach for the rest of the half, but they weren’t able to capitalise. Half chances fell to Tom Carson and Barry Middleton, but Korea defended well. Just before half-time Korea had a great opportunity to equalise but pressure from Adam Dixon meant Hye Sung Hyun’s attempt went wide.
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Korea built momentum in the second half and England spent the majority of the early stages trying to break down their opponents attacks. With 20 minutes left to play Korea won the first penalty corner of the game. England thwarted the initial attempt, but Korea played the ball back into danger and an unmarked Seong Kyu Kim deflected the ball past a helpless Pinner in goal to make it 1-1.
Against the run of play, England won their first penalty corner in the 59th minute. After breaking early Korea lost a man off the back line and England took full advantage with a well worked routine. Richard Smith disguised his pass back to the injector, Nick Catlin, who squared the ball to Martin and with a simple tap in he restored England’s lead.
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At 2-1 Korea pushed everyone forward looking for an equaliser, but England defended really well. Pinner made a match-winning save in the final two minutes of the game to secure the bronze medal.
Speaking after the game England’s Head Coach Bobby Crutchley said: “I think we showed a lot of resilience out there today and I’m very proud of the team and their ability to bounce back from a disappointing performance yesterday.
“We were under added pressure missing two players and subsequently the team had to dig deep. This tournament has given us a much needed confidence boost ahead of the European Championships next month.”
Watch the England Men’s team in action on home turf from 1 – 4 August as they take on the Netherlands in the NOW: Pensions Nations Cup. Go to englandhockey.co.uk for more information.