The Vantage Black Sticks have gone down to England 2-0 in their cross-over match. The result sends the Vantage Black Sticks home from the Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup. Despite a number of great scoring opportunities the Vantage Black Sticks were unable to break through the English defence.
The Vantage Black Sticks started the game holding the ball and looking to size up the England defence. This resulted in some early chances which were just snuffed out by the English defence. England however had the first penalty corner opportunity of the game where Richard Joyce made a fantastic glove save. The first quarter saw both sides playing quite conservatively as they looked to see where the gaps were on the field. At the end of the 1st quarter we were tied at 0-0.
The Vantage Black Sticks started the second quarter very strongly looking to assert themselves on the offensive end of the field. The English defence was resolute as they didn’t let the Vantage Black Sticks enter their circle. England absorbed the early pressure and then worked there way into the quarter where they held some good possession and were looking patient as they waited for opportunities to open up. With 5 minutes to go in the second quarter Phil Roper found himself on the end of a well placed overhead and drove along the baseline laying a ball back for Will Calnan to deflect the ball home. Despite a few opportunities the Vantage Black Sticks were unable to find an equaliser and went into the half time break down 1-0 and looking for a big second half.
England started the third quarter strongly putting the Vantage Black Sticks under a significant amount of pressure. The Vantage Black Sticks defence was strong and repelled the early pressure that was applied on them. The Vantage Black Sticks then had the first significant chance of the 3rd quarter when Stephen Jenness spun around the England defence but couldn’t keep his shot down as it went over the cross bar. England followed the Vantage Black Sticks attacking opportunities with 2 penalty corners of their own, however they were unable to convert either opportunity as Vantage Black Sticks goalie Richard Joyce pulled off some good saves. The Vantage Black Sticks started to find their feet in the last few minutes of the 3rd quarter when they had some deflections that were kept just out of the goal to maintain Englands lead. Just before the end of the 3rd quarter England had a penalty corner, the first shot came off the post and then Luke Taylor trapped the rebound and swept it powerfully home past Richard Joyce. At the end of the 3rd quarter the score was 2-0.
The Vantage Black Sticks started the 4th quarter looking for a goal to get themselves back into the contest. Stephen Jenness and Nick Ross both had some great opportunities however Englands Goalkeeper George Pinner managed to stand tall and pull off some great saves. With 10 minutes to go the Vantage Black Sticks pulled their goalkeeper creating an overlap in the hopes of scoring the needed 2 goals to tie the match up. The Vantage Black Sticks conceded a penalty corner with no goalkeeper, Cory Bennett then ran out 1st as the field player with goalkeeping privileges and ran down the drag flick. England then looked to slow the game down and despite some great opportunities for the Vantage Black Sticks they were unable to get on the scoreboard and went down 2-0 to England.
Coach Darren Smith stated after the game that "We have a few disappointed boys here. We didn't threaten them often enough, until we were chasing the game, then didn't take the opportunities that were presented".
England 2 (Will Calnan 25’, Luke Taylor 44’)