England made it two wins from two with a comfortable 5-0 victory over a plucky, if uninspiring Malaysia side in Glasgow today. Goals from Ellie Watton, Giselle Ansley, Sophie Bray, Alex Danson and Hollie Webb were enough to get England the three points in a game which they dominated from start to finish.
England started brightly and the excellent Bray was first to test the goalkeeper’s reflexes. A lovely run from the East Grinstead forward created some space as she cut in from the right but her reverse stick shot was beaten away by Farah Ayuni Yahya in the Malaysian goal. With five minutes on the clock Bray set up another chance, sliding the ball through to Danson whose slapped effort crashed against the woodwork and away to safety.
England continued to press, forcing a couple of early penalty corners but were unable to make their dominance count. Danson was having a running battle with goalkeeper Ayuni who kept her out on 13 minutes and then superbly just two minutes later, plunging to her right to get a stick on a fierce shot from the No15 who was causing the Malaysian defence all kinds of problems.
With 17 minutes on the clock England got their breakthrough from a penalty corner. Kate Richardson-Walsh played the ball in towards the left post where Watton applied the finishing touch from close range for her first goal of the competition.
Bray and Danson were wreaking havoc in the final third and the East Grinstead star set up Lily Owsley who couldn’t get the better of Ayuni who once again blocked bravely before showing great agility to glove away another Danson strike from the top of the D. Bray, wearing the unfamiliar No3 in this competition had a gilt-edged chance to make it 2-0 but despite lifting the ball beyond the goalkeeper her effort went agonizingly wide of the far post.
Ayuni had performed heroics but on the stroke of half time there was little the goalkeeper could do as Ansley’s drag flick took a deflection off the runner and found the net to make it 2-0 at the break.
Fazilla Sylvester Silin had Malaysia’s only real opening right at the start of the second half when she found space in the England D but Maddie Hinch made up the ground from her line and blocked well to snuff out the danger.
With 42 minutes gone, Bray got the rewards for her inventive attacking work. Ansley’s penalty corner was repelled by the goalkeeper but kept in the D by Kate Richardson-Walsh’s touch, which fell kindly for Bray to fire home the third. Once again the No3 fulfilled the role of provider in the 48th minute, playing a long diagonal ball in to the D, finding Susannah Townsend all alone. With the freedom of the D the Canterbury midfielder opted for power but smashed her shot wide of the target with just the goalkeeper to beat.
Danson continued her crusade to get her name on the score sheet and with 20 minutes to go the Reading striker was fouled inside the D after another mazy run, resulting in a penalty stroke. She stepped up herself and beat the Ayuni with a low flick which gave the goalkeeper no chance.
The final 15 minutes of the game was somewhat scrappy with England’s attacking game losing some of its cohesion with the match won.
There was however, still time for two more chances: Ayuni saved again from Danson but then right on the stroke of full time, England forced another penalty corner. Surbiton defender Webb assumed the responsibilities and smashed home a fierce strike to round off the scoring for England.
Captain Kate Richardson-Walsh said afterwards:
“Tournament hockey is about building momentum and on the back of the summer we’ve had so far, it’s key we got a couple of good wins under our belts. I’m just looking forward to Australia now. They’ve had a fantastic couple of years and they look like the Hockeyroos from the early part of my career when they were on top of the world. We go in as underdogs but we believe in ourselves and we can beat them.”
England face the Hockeyroos, who beat hosts Scotland 9-0 earlier today in the pick of the Pool B games tomorrow at 2pm.