Investec World League Pool B: Australia 5-0 Spain.

An impressive display from Australia got their World League campaign off to a perfect start as they swept aside the challenge of Spain with a comfortable 5-0 win.

Goals from Georgia Nanscawen, Claire Messent, Emily Hurtz, Kellie White and an own goal mean Adam Commens’ side go into tomorrow’s clash with England in good form and full of confidence.

Australia dominated from start to finish, rarely allowing Spain to threaten as the game went to form in front of a good crowd in London.

Nanscawen went close early on with a diving deflection which looped up off her stick and was batted away by a furiously back-pedalling Maria Lopez in the Spanish goal.

Ashleigh Nelson was unlucky to see her shot crash into the side of the goal after she had led the defence a merry dance with some fine skills on the right-hand-side.

Spain were defending desperately to keep the scores level and Lopez made a good save to keep out Jodie Schulz from a penalty corner, whilst Emily Smith blazed over the bar from the left side of the D having been put through by Messent.

With two minutes left before the break Nanscawen finally broke the deadlock. Teneal Attard’s ball into the D broke to Nanscawen who pounced and slapped home from close range.

Six minutes after the break Messent doubled the lead. Anna Flanagan’s drag flick was repelled by the goalkeeper, as was the rebound, however, Messent was on hand to force home from close range. Australia seemed to sense more goals and increased the pressure on the Spanish defence. Their high press led to a lot of turnovers in dangerous areas. Georgie Parker and then White could easily have added further goals before White finally did make it 3-0 in the 45th minute. A mazy dribble and lifted shot by the No.16 deceived the Spanish defence and put the game beyond doubt. Six minutes later it was 4-0 courtesy of an own goal, and Spain were in danger of sinking without trace.

Late on Spain finally created a chance of their own as a long ball found its way to Maria Lofaro in the D. With time and space she sized up her options, only to crash the ball into the post and out, to the despair of coach Adrian Lock. To add insult to injury Australia scored a fifth in the last minute.  Casey Eastham showed superb skills to break into the D where her shot was saved by Lopez, presenting Emily Hurtz with the rebound and Australia with their fifth goal.

Spain will have to pick themselves up for tomorrow’s clash with South Africa. Their worry will be the lack of chances they were able to create. Australia will be raring to go, as if they needed any more motivation, for their Ashes clash with hosts, England.

About thetopofthed

Columnist for The Hockey Paper and the man behind The Top of the D. Writer, podcaster, goalkeeper and BBC Sport man. Used to work for Great Britain Hockey and have covered the sport at every major tournament.
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