England end up well beaten by Argentina
PUBLISHED: 15:35 10 June 2017 | UPDATED: 15:35 10 June 2017
PA Wire/PA Images
England 1 Argentina 5
England’s hockey women were brought back to earth by a clinical Argentina side in the first Investec International at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.
Making their first appearance on home soil since Team GB’s memorable gold medal exploits at the Rio Olympics last summer, Danny Kerry’s side, including several new faces, conceded from three slick penalty corner routines, but did have a first senior goal for Hannah Martin to celebrate.
And they will be looking for a capacity crowd to get behind them when they take on Olympic silver medallists, the Netherlands, on Sunday (2pm).
Argentina controlled possession well in the opening minutes, but a strong run on the left by Sarah Haycroft got England on the front foot and captain Alex Danson won a penalty corner with less than three minutes on the clock.
And a smart move ended with Anna Toman deflecting just wide from the left side of the D.
Magdalena Fernandez flashed an angled shot across Maddie Hinch’s goal moments later, after dashing into the D on the right side, and the visitors continued to probe, before Lily Owsley’s long run carried England upfield once again.
Argentina maintained a larger share of the ball in the first quarter, but England showed good discipline to restrict them to few chances, although Hinch had to kick out Maria Granatto’s reverse-stick effort, before another hit Emily Defroand on the back of a leg and led to a corner.
And Hinch used her legs pads to deny Noel Barrionuevo and Julia Gomes from the set-piece, to loud cheers from a sizeable crowd soaking up the summer sun.
Nicola White was shown a green card in the closing seconds of the opening quarter and a great run along the byline by Granatto, cutting in from the left, led to a second corner for Argentina early in the second session.
And they made it count as Gomes drilled the ball to the left post where Agustina Habif deflected it into the roof of the net to open the scoring.
Owsley went close to levelling moments later, flashing a reverse stick shot wide from the left of the Argentina D, but Eugenia Trinchinetti then dribbled her way into position at the other end, which led to an almighty scramble in front of Hinch before the umpire’s whistle went to give England a chance to clear.
Martin and Danson combined to win another corner, which Zoe Shipperley saw blocked by a defender’s foot, and the next routine worked well as the ball was switched back to the injector and the ball reached Martin, who batted it home at the far post to level with her first senior international goal.
Danson, with 99 international goals to her name, flashed a shot on the turn narrowly wide after Trinchinetti was shown a green card, but Argentina won a corner late in the first half when the ball hit Grace Balsdon’s foot in the D, with a full-length Hinch blocking the effort from Gomes.
England countered quickly and Townsend almost found Nicola White at the far post, but the first half ended all square.
Argentina went close to regaining the lead within five minutes of the restart, but Hinch kept out Granatto’s effort with another save, and she was quickly off her line to smother the danger when Rocio Sanchez was given too much space on the left side of the D soon after.
Balsdon cleared a close-range effort off the line as England’s goal came under threat once more, with Hinch kicking away a drag flick from Lucina von der Heyde at another Argentina corner with three minutes left in the third quarter.
England conceded another corner with less than 90 seconds on the clock, when the ball was lifted in the D and Argentina restored their lead in similar fashion to their first goal as they moved the ball left for Martina Cavallero to deflect it into the net.
Toman fired a dangerous ball in from the right flank at the start of the final quarter, but no England team-mate could get on the end of it in the D, and an obstruction at the other end handed Argentina a corner, with the ball moved to the right this time for Fernandez to touch inside the post for their third goal.
Trinchinetti was shown a yellow card for a robust tackle soon after, leaving her side down to 10 players for a five-minute spell and giving England a chance to try and fight their way back into the match, but the home side were frustrated by some dogged defence as they moved the ball back and forth across the blue turf.
Then, to make matters worse, Argentina scored a fourth with five minutes remaining as Delfina Merino worked space at the top of the D for a reverse-stick shot against the backboard.
And although Merino was shown a yellow card in the following passage of play, leaving Argentina to finish the match with one player less, they kept going and Habif tapped in her second goal with the very last touch of the match.
England: Maddie Hinch, Laura Unsworth, Sarah Haycroft, Anna Toman, Hannah Martin, Susannah Townsend, Alex Danson, Sophie Bray, Hollie Webb, Nicola White, Grace Balsdon. Replacements: Zoe Shipperley, Susie Gilbert, Emily Defroand, Shona McCallin, Lily Owsley, Job Hunter, Amy Tennant (GK).
Argentina: Belen Succi, Agostina Alonso, Martina Cavallero, Magdalena Fernandez, Delfina Merino, Agustina Habif, Maria Grannatto, Rocio Sanchez, Lucina von der Heyde, Noel Barrionuevo, Julia Gomes. Replacements: Agustina Gorzelany, Eugenia Trinchinetti, Florencia Habif, Milagros Fernandez, Maria Ortiz, Julieta Jankunas, Maria Mutio (GK).