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GB keep up their winning ways but injury toll mounts

[img_assist|nid=4703|title=Another one down|desc=GB’s stand-in captain Helen Richardson (left) checks on striker Alex Danson down with an ankle injury – hockeyimages.co.uk|link=node|align=right|width=220|height=142]Great Britain rallied late to defeat Korea 5-3 in their second pool match at the London 2012 Olympic Games women’s hockey tournament.

But their injury situation remains a concern with skipper Kate Walsh spending a second night in hospital and star forward Alex Danson stretchered off just before the final whistle.

With Walsh absent, recovering from an operation after breaking her jaw in Sunday’s 4-0 win over Japan, the home side stretched out to a 3-1 lead three minutes into the second half. But the Koreans ruined the party levelling with goals after 52 (Han Hye Lyoung PC) and 57 minutes (Park Mi Hyun, FG) as GB lost a little of their earlier composure. 

The equaliser sparked GB into action and the lead was restored with a mis-trapped corner being sent back into the circle where Georgie Twigg finished on the backhand (61 min). Hannah Macleod had won the PC as she was stick tacked outside the circle on the right. Korea appeared to want to appeal the award of the corner but the Dutch umpire Stella Bartlema indicated their appeal was too late.

[img_assist|nid=4704|title=Get in |desc=Chloe Rogers celebrates GB’s fifth goal vs Korea – hockeyimages.co.uk|link=node|align=left|width=220|height=149]Chloe Rogers made it 5-3 a minute later with a simple finish on the right of the goal after replacement goalkeeper Moon Young Hui failed to swipe away a bobbling ball that had bobbled off White following good work by Sarah Thomas to get the ball into the circle.

It was the second awful goalkeeping mistake from Korea with Jang Soo Ji  already having been substituted after being at fault for GB’s opener from Nicola White. She also failed to get anywhere near an admittedly excellent low Crista Cullen corner flick goal (25 minutes). 

Cullen also had a hand in GB’s third goal, with a clever PC variation finding her moving wide at the top of the circle and then finding a diving Alex Danson who deflected home.

Coach Danny Kerry praised the personal qualities of his players  to re-assert themselves in the game after the Korea equaliser.

“It’s never going to be perfect for seventy minutes. When it became 3-3, fair play to them they got on to the front foot, got into the circle and converted the goals. It is a testament to the girls that when the pressure came on in a big tournament like the Olympic Games they did what they did. It would have been easy to succumb to Korea and go under.”

Nicola White got the game off to a dream start for GB in the 6th minute, beating two players on her way to the top of the circle before a slightly scuffed shot found it’s way into the net through Jang. Korea equalised with an in-close finish from Kim Daerae (18mins).

The game ended with another injury worry for Kerry as Alex Danson was carried off with an ankle injury.

The main concern with Walsh is how she recovers from an operation to insert titanium plates in her jaw. The surgeon says the jaw is stronger than before the injury and there is no medical reason not to play. She is spending a second night in hospital as she recovers from the operation and general anasthetic. Kerry said they were optimistic she would be back in the Olympic Village on Wednesday. 

GB’s next game is vs Belgium on Thursday at 7pm.

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