England 1 vs. 1 India
2.00 push back
India push back and the game is under way as the host nation England open their World Cup campaign and within a minute they get a short corner. Susie Townsend had passed down the right to team mate and captain Alex Danson in the ‘D’, who was stick fouled, given us our first set piece of the match.
The injection is sent out to the second castle, a sweep and the Gk saves with a plank. Almost the dream start that England wanted, but not quite.
In the second minute an Indian centre pass fizzles across the England area. Immediately we can see that this is a higher standard of game than this afternoon, with both teams challenging each other from the start – probing at pace.
On eight minutes, a cross field ball from the England left back to a very high right back Anna Toman, leads to a pass into the ’D’ and a short corner for England. Unfortunately this breaks down with the injection.
India get their first shot off shortly after this, after wining the ball in their top 25, forcing a save from Maddie HInch’s right boot. The game has been end to end so far… although without getting many shots off. Attacking players are struggling to get past each others organised defences, with both teams seemingly looking to counter each other.
As we start the second quarter, there is another England attack down the right flank, involving a very high Anna Toman. She is really playing with ambition for a right back and it’s exciting to watch. In the fourth minute the Indians cause a bit of chaos with a driven ball into the area, allowing for a second phase attack that requires some focused defending from the English.
Hannah Martin takes a beautiful trap from a long aerial, on the right wing, moves it to Alex Danson in the area who wins a short corner. The shot is taken from top of D, left leg pad save from the Indian Keeper, 28 year old Savita. The resulting second phase shot hits a defender’s body going to wards the goals… Penalty stroke for England! This is immediately referred to the video umpire by the Indians, which they win, but only to change the set piece to another short corner for the Lionesses. England short corner. Saved by the keeper.
In the seventh minute of the quarter, Hollie Pearne-Webb is looking comfortable on the ball in midfield. She plays a pass wide right and England work it up the line. Elena Rayer plays a one-two with her team mate and receives the ball in the Indian ‘D’ and is knocked over. The Umpire gives a short corner and the Indians refer again. No advice given, so England get the short and the Indians keep the referral. This time it is a variation to the left post injector, who plays s slap shot. This looks to stretch the Indian defence but to no avail.
With five minutes left before half time the Indians work the ball into the English D. It becomes quite scrappy and the ball comes to number 32 Neha Goyal, she commits the defender, turns and shoots into the bottom right hand corner. 1 – 0 India. It is referred by the English for a dangerous ball outside the area, but is not given by the video umpire. England lose their referral for the rest of the game.
England continue to play the ball up the wings, but the Indians are looking decent on the counter attack and manage another shot that goes just wide in the 13th minute. In the 14th minute Vendana Katariya cuts out a pass from the English full back which allows for another centred pass into the area, but just misses the Indian forward.
At half-time England 0 – 1 India.
At the start of the second half, it still a game of thrust and parry between the two teams, with both attackeing lines asking questions of each others full backs. There seems to be an increase in English pressing in the Indian half in this quarter, with the English midfield and forwards looking to force turnovers higher up the pitch.
England is probing, left, right, left and right again. In the eight minute Alex Danson finds a gap on the right of the ‘D’ and drives inside, forcing the Indians to try and clear their lines. England continue to press India and a minute later Danson attacks the right hand baseline again, forcing a scramble from the Indians. In the thirteenth minute, Susie Townsend drives down the left flank and hits the baseline and pulls back for Sophie Bray, who unfortunately doesn’t connect properly and another chance goes begging.
The English are enjoying the majority of possession so far in this quarter, getting into the attacking quarter of the pitch often and regularly. Unfortunately for them, the Indians are defending deep and stopping many shots on goal. 3/4 ends 1-0 to India.
As we we begin the fourth and final quarter, an England attack sees a collision between Hannah Martin and Gaurjit Kaur. Play goes on and England nearly score from a top ‘D’ strike. Both players are ok and carry on. In the third minute the Indians commit a stick foul in the area and give away short corner. The Indian number 4, Monika, receives a green card. England take their set piece and shoot straight at Savita. The rebound creates a second phase and the hosts wing a second short corner. Same again, but this time Indian win a free hit.
The Indian are definitely conceding possession to England in order to defend their bottom quarter and look like Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea football team, at their best. It’s starting to look like England don’t have a plan B.
In the seventh minute the Indians have a lovely move, after winning the ball in the centre of the pitch. Lilima Minz, spreads the ball right to Lalremsiami, who drifts to the right and up the pitch. She finds her team mate in the ‘D’ who doesn’t quite test Maddie Hinch enough for us to see another goal. A minute later, England win another short corner. Again, it goes straight into keeper and gets stuck under her armpit. Short Corner again. This time the ball does to keeper’s right, she saves, Ellie Watton picks the ball up and sends it to the back post. Lily Owsley pounces on the pass to make 1-1.
The Indians start to come out a bit more, in order to find a winner and the game returns to an end to end midfield contest. This in hindered in the 14th minute, as Navneet Kaur receives a yellow card and India are reduced to 10 players. The game end shortly afterwards, with the full time score remaining 1 – 1. England forward and skipper Alex Danson received the Vitality Player of the Match award.