England were forced to rue a series of missed chances in the first half as Eduard Tubau’s deflected goal cancelled out Ali Brogdon’s early strike ensuring both sides took home a share of the spoils from their opening World Cup game.
Bobby Crutchley’s side got off to a dream start. With five minutes gone Nick Catlin broke out of defence and fed Alastair Brogdon. With no Spanish player closing him down, the Wimbledon man drove into the D and found the net with a splendid strike.
England forced their first penalty corner of the match on 11 minutes. Tom Carson’s flick was charged down but the ball broke back to him and he was allowed time and space to shoot but somehow fired his effort wide.
Spain were struggling to get a foothold in the early going but forced a penalty corner of their own on 14 minutes. Gabriel Dabanch stepped up but his low flick went wide of the post.
England’s pace out of defence and some slick passing moves were causing Spain plenty of problems. Some nice play on the left hand side let in Barry Middleton but Quico Cortes made a splendid save diving to his left to keep the England captain out before recovering to tip over from the rebound. Brogdon was causing the Spanish defence plenty of problems and it was he who almost doubled the lead, swapping passes with Mark Gleghorne and sliding in to just miss the target with his touch. With time running out in the half, Carson shot wide from a penalty corner and England were unable to add to their advantage.
As England did in the first half, Spain came out firing on all cylinders at the start of the second. It took them just two minutes to restore parity. Sergi Enrique played a long pass into the D where Tubau got the slightest of touches. England goalkeeper George Pinner appeared to let the ball go; unaware the No10 had made the vital touch. The goal was not given initially but after a referral Spain had their equaliser.
Adam Dixon did well to retrieve a broken down penalty corner but his shot went just wide before Jackson saw his effort from close range come back off the post with Cortes beaten. Spain put England under intense pressure as the second half wore on but it was England who created the best chance of the second half. Tim Whiteman picked out Adam Dixon, who in turn played in David Condon, it looked a good bet for Condon to shoot but instead he passed to Middleton whose shot was well saved by Cortes.
Both sides took away a point but with a bit more composure in front of goal England could easily have picked up three.
Dan Fox, the England defender told The Top of the D: “We’re disappointed not to win because we played very well in patches and created some really good chances. We hit the post and had some corners but we haven’t beaten Spain in a competitive match since 1991, so we knew they’d cause some problems. A draw is not a bad result but obviously it’s a shame we couldn’t get the three points.”
Bobby Crutchley’s side will be hoping to pick up their first win of the campaign when they face India in the next game on Monday.