Giselle Ansley’s second international goal on the stroke of half time was not enough to give Jason Lee’s side a share of the spoils as they went down 2-1 to old foes Germany.
Marie Mavers grabbed both the decisive goals for the Germans in a close-fought game that was not without its controversy.
Maddie Hinch was called into action early on as Hannah Kruger burst forward and sent a long ball into the D, Hannah Galbac had a couple of bites of the cherry but the Holcombe goalkeeper blocked twice before kicking the ball to safety to see off the threat.
Germany were patient in possession and kept hold of the ball as they waited for an opening to present itself.
England were taking some time to settle into the game but could have opened the scoring but for some fine goalkeeping from Kim Platten. The goalkeeper, wearing the No.3 shirt showed excellent agility and awareness to cut out and clear a dangerous ball into the D from Hollie Webb with Alex Danson sliding in just behind the goalkeeper, seeming certain to score.
On 29 minutes, Germany drew first blood. Lena Jacobi carried the ball a long way up the right hand side, she sent a pass into the D at the near post where Mavers supplied the most delicate of finishes to dink the ball past Hinch and put the Germans in the driving seat approaching half time.
With just seconds left on the clock before the break, England squared things up. Danson fired in a cross from the left, which Platten only partially cleared. The ball fell to Susie Gilbert who also tried to cross, Jennifer Plass reacted first but the defender only succeeded in picking out Ansley just inside the D where the No.18 rifled an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net giving Platten no chance.
The game was somewhat cat and mouse in the opening exchanges of the second half with both sides working hard to create openings for their forwards, but with both goalkeepers not having to face clear shots at goal. After 51 minutes, Germany struck what proved to be a decisive blow. From a penalty corner, Kruger flicked a pin-point low pass just outside the post where Mavers dived in to apply the finishing touch and make it 2-1.
At the other end, Kate Walsh was denied by an outrageous goal line clearance from German captain Julia Muller, the skipper somehow getting her stick to the ball and diverting it to safety with Platten beaten. Danson tested the goalkeeper’s agility once again as she latched onto a Walsh pass on the left side of the D and stung the goalkeeper’s pads with a good reverse stick shot.
With six minutes left, England thought they had salvaged a point. Danson broke free down the right, beating two defenders as she made her way along the baseline, her cross found Samantha Quek whose instant shot was repelled by Platten. The ball ran loose in a crowded D and Ashleigh Ball was first to react, hitting a lovely shot on her reverse into the bottom corner as she fell. Germany coach Jamilon Mulders was a long way down the touchline demanding his team ask for a referral, which they duly did. The coach’s instinct was proved correct as Ball’s effort was chalked off for playing the ball with the back of the stick. Germany were able to hold on and take the points.
England coach Jason Lee was upbeat despite the result: “Overall I’m very pleased with how the girls played out there today, there was a lot of fight, our approach was right, and it could have gone either way. Germany just took their chances better.”
England return to action on Tuesday with their final group game against Scotland.