[img_assist|nid=8265|title=Mark Gleghorne – Photo: Ady Keery|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=142]Following a late decision England’s two fixtures against Germany in Mannheim this weekend were played as official capped matches. The mini-series ended in a tie with both sides recording victories.
Newcomers to the squad Loughborough Students’ Henry Weir and Reading’s Tom Carson recorded their first senior international goals, whilst East Grinstead’s Mark Gleghorne was on target twice today to help England record a noteworthy 3-2 victory over the 2012 Olympic Champions.
The squad had a number of changes from the one who faced Belgium last week. East Grinstead’s Ashley Jackson stayed at home as he continues to recover from an ankle injury and Beeston’s Ben Arnold was rested after being unwell. Racing Club Brussels’ (BEL) Richard Smith has recovered from a fractured thumb and replaced ex club teammate Loughborough Students’ Andy Bull in defence. Reading’s Nick Catlin did not play in the second game as a precaution following an infection to a knee wound.
Match one, Saturday 15 June, 10:30 UK time, Mannheim
GERMANY 5 (2)
Stralkowski 17, 51 (FG, PC)
Miltkau 34 (FG)
C Zeller 41 (PS)
Korn 49 (PC)
ENGLAND 2 (1)
Carson 16, 40 (PC, FG)
Despite losing the opening match 5-2 to the number one side in the world (FIH rankings), England Head Coach Bobby Crutchley is pleased with the progress his side is making, “This was a much improved performance after our trip to Belgium and I’m pleased with many aspects of our play. We showed a lot more fight and tenacity in the important areas of the pitch.”
Carson found the target twice to record his first senior international goals. A strong drag flick in the 16th minute found its way past Jacobi, despite the German goalkeeper initially getting a glove to it. The Reading forward doubled his tally in the second half with a great finish off a cross from the right from club teammate Simon Mantell. Carson managed to get into the circle ahead of Max Muller and deflected the ball past Jacobi at the near post.
Match two, Sunday 16 June, 11:00 UK time, Mannheim
GERMANY 2 (2)
C Zeller 19, 34 (PC, PC)
ENGLAND 3 (2)
Gleghorne 1, 15 (FG, PS)
Weir 61 (PC)
England regrouped following the 5-2 loss and couldn’t have wished for a better start to the second game as they found the target inside the first minute. A good move down the right saw a pinpoint cross from Mantell hit behind the defenders which Gleghorne, at full dive, managed to slot home on the reverse from about 2 yards out.
15 minutes later Gleghorne was back on target again to make it 2-0. This time his effort was a penalty stroke following a stick tackle on Weir inside the circle. As you would expect from the number one side in the world Germany did hit back and put England under pressure in the lead up to half time. Christopher Zeller found a way past Beeston’s George Pinner in goal twice, despite the Beeston keeper’s best efforts to keep the ball out.
England continued to look bright in the second half with a much improved defensive and attacking set-up. Although Germany enjoyed the majority of possession they were not able to break through the visitors back line and England continued to look threatening on the attack.
With nine minutes remaining, England’s second penalty corner of the game saw Smith’s effort initially saved, but in the ensuing scramble the ball looped up and Weir made contact to put the ball into the back of net to take the 3-2 victory.
Speaking after the game Head Coach Bobby Crutchley said, “Although I felt we played better yesterday we stuck to the task well today, showed more solidity at the back and made good use of our possession in the attacking third. The win here is just reward for a good squad effort and is an ideal boost ahead of the World League Semi Final in Malaysia at the end of this month.”
Speaking after the weekend’s results, goal scorer and newcomer to the squad Tom Carson said, “We played well across both matches this weekend and we were just unlucky to concede at the wrong times yesterday. We regrouped last night and we knew exactly what we needed to change today and I think the result shows that we did that well. It’s a great confidence boost to get a victory over a side like Germany before we head out to Malaysia. I was really pleased to register my first couple of goals and it’s always extra special to get one from a drag [flick].”