Ipswich’s George Pinner is penalty hero in England’s draw with Argentina

England's Sam Ward celebrates scoring with Chris Griffiths.

England's Sam Ward celebrates scoring with Chris Griffiths. - Credit: Photo: Simon Parker

Ipswich’s George Pinner was the penalty hero as England earned a draw with Olympic champions Argentina at the Hero Hockey World League Semi-Finals on Sunday.

Three goals in four minutes earned Argentina a draw after the hosts, including fellow Ipswich-born player, Harry Martin, had took a 3-0 lead courtesy of Mark Gleghorne, Sam Ward and Barry Middleton.

Those goals were cancelled out by two Gonzalo Peillat penalty corners and a Matias Paredes strike before Pinner stood tall to deny Maico Casella a dramatic winner in the dying minutes.

England got off to an superb start. Mark Gleghorne’s drag flick was blocked on the line by Manuel Brunet, and the number 14 duly stepped up to convert the resultant penalty stroke.

Three minutes later it was 2-0 – a reverse stick strike was blocked by the pads of Juan Vivaldi but the rebound fell kindly to Roper, who smashed the ball goalbound for Sam Ward to finish.

It wasn’t long before Pinner and England were called into action as Argentina came to life.

A first time reverse stick strike from Joaquin Menini was blocked by the England number one before Adam Dixon prevented a certain goal, by stretching to tip the ball over the bar.

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When Argentina were awarded their first penalty corner, Peillat stepped up, but Liam Sanford charged off the line to block. England’s defence held firm and maintained their 2-0 lead going into the break.

Yet again, England started brightly from the re-start and took a 3-0 lead after 34 minutes. Brendan Creed sent a crash ball into the circle for a diving Barry Middleton to deflect into the roof of the net – his 110th international goal.

The South American side bounced back though and two penalty corner rocket strikes from Peillat, either side of Matias Paredes’s goal, got them back on level terms with a quarter to play.

Gleghorne’s low penalty corner strike was saved by the stick of Vivaldi before Argentina were awarded a penalty stroke after a goalmouth scramble.

Casella stepped up to the spot, only to be denied by the out stretched left pad of Pinner, much to the delight of the home crowd.

Pinner then saved a further three penalty corners before Vivaldi did well to smother Ward’s cross and clear the danger.

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