[img_assist|nid=8705|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=100|height=100]England U21 men went down 2-1 to South Africa in a closely-fought opening match of the Hero Hockey junior World Cup in New Delhi, India, on Friday.
South Africa’s clinical finishing proved the difference.
Scores were tied 1-1 at the break after Sheffield Hallam’s David Goodfield got England off to a great start with a 14thminute goal. An attack down the left resulted in a cross from Jonny Gall, and a deflection from Arjan Drayton-Chana was knocked home at the far post by Goodfield.
England had several chances to double their lead, but instead the next goal went to South Africa a minute before half time. Andrew Manson’s shot finding the net after rebounding off the keeper at a long corner.
The second half was an even affair. England still had good periods of possession and some chances, but they couldn’t convert.
Another deflection, this time at the near post by captain Dylan Swanpoel at a 59th minute penalty corner, put South Africa into the lead and they held on in determined fashion.
“I’m frustrated more than angry,” said England coach Jon Bleby. “We created chances but didn’t take them which is something we have been prone to, and it has let us down at a crucial time. But we will pick ourselves up for the next match.”
That next match comes on Sunday against New Zealand. Arjan Drayton-Chana is a doubt after being taken off with an ankle injury in the first half of the clash with South Africa.
Click here for the latest results and fixtures from the Hero Hockey Junior World Cup 2013