[img_assist|nid=4952|title=Captain courageous|desc=GB’s Kate Walsh waves to the crowd at Riverbank Arena, London on Thursday August 2, 2012. She could play against China on Saturday, six days after breaking her jaw, with GB needing just one point to make the semi-finals – Ady Kerry|link=node|align=right|width=220|height=243]LONDON, August 2 – Great Britain went top of pool A after a comfortable 3-0 win over the tournament’s lowest-ranked side Belguim at the Riverbank Arena.
Injured captain Kate Walsh watched from the dugout as second-half goals from Laura Bartlett and Crista Cullen from a penalty corner sealed the win after Ashleigh Ball had given the home side a half-time lead.
Mistake-prone Belgium never really got a handle on the match but it took a while for a rather frantic Great Britain to establish any sort of control in a midfield-dominated first-half.
Ball finished her goal with a a neat pushed finish, setting GB on their way in the 32nd minute. The Slough midfielder was found from the baseline by Leicester’s Chloe Rogers. The chance came after the rebound from a Sarah Thomas shot was obligingly cleared straight to Rogers by Lola Danhaive.
Bartlett made it 2-0 with a turn onto her backhand side and reverse sweep shot after she was found by a Hannah Macleod pass a few metres out to the left of the goal.
The third came from a perfectly executed corner, drilled low and right by Cullen in the 69th minute. The corner was won by Ball who was tripped in the circle.
GB goalkeeper Beth Storry chipped in with a good save in the 61st minute but her goal was largely untroubled.
Alex Danson, looking fully recovered from her ankle injury sufferd on Tuesday vs Korea, shot over after two minutes. Nicola White was well smothered by Belgium keeper Aisling D’Hooghe after receiving a through pass from Danson (14 mins) and Thomas had a shot deflected away in the 19th minute. Danson also won a second-half PC but the corner injection was misdirected (48mins).
GB coach Danny Kerry said: “I felt pretty secure. We had good control of the game for large periods. Belgium put more players forward in the last five or ten minutes and we had to adjust to that.”
But he wasn’t happy with his charges’ execution. “We are nowhere near where we need to be with the amount of possesion we have got. A little of that comes from re-jigging things a bit [with the injury to Walsh]. But that is two wins without one of the best players in the world.”
Walsh, who broke her jaw against Japan on Sunday has had titanium plates inserted to stabilise the fracture. She will be fitness tested tomorrow and, depending on the outcome, may play in GB’s came against China on Saturday at 4pm.
“There is a possibility she may play. But at the moment it is very difficult to say,” Kerry said.