England rounded off their Commonwealth Games pool matches with a comfortable 3-1 win over Canada in Glasgow. A brace from Ashley Jackson and a strike by Captain Barry Middleton were enough to give Bobby Crutchley’s team the win despite Scott Tupper’s second half strike for the Canadians.
England dominated the early going and Jackson had an early penalty corner charged down. Simon Mantell found space down the right and his cross found its way through to Mikey Hoare on a rare foray forwards but the No12 pulled his shot wide of the near post. England continued to press for the breakthrough: Phil roper’s penalty corner was kept out by the goalkeeper but after 25 minutes they finally got their reward for a patient start to the game. Roper took a free hit on the right and found Middleton who fired a first time diagonal cross into the D that was deflected home by Jackson.
England forced further chances but Mark Gleghorne blazed a penalty corner over the bar and Adam Dixon couldn’t quite apply the finish to Jackson’s pass meaning England went in at the break with just a one goal lead to show for the dominance.
With their first meaningful attack after the break England made it 2-0. Ali Brogdon caused havoc in the Canada defence and with the ball breaking loose Middleton was on hand to force home.
Tupper the Canadian captain was having a fine game in defence, helping his side to stile England’s constant waves of attacks. Canada enjoyed a spell of pressure of their own at the start of the half but were unable to put George Pinner to the test and England soon re-assumed control.
Jackson made it 3-0 with a trademark penalty corner into the roof of the net giving David Carter no chance but with time running out Canada forced their first penalty corner of the match. Tupper brought a good save out of Pinner but his side won another penalty corner. This time the Canadian captain beat the Holcombe goalkeeper with a precise flick into the top corner to Pinner’s left to make it 3-1. There was still time for Jackson to rattle the woodwork with another drag flick on the stroke of full time and England took the three points.
Ashley Jackson, the England midfielder said afterwards:
“Canada are a physical side and the tighter they kept it for longer the better it suited them. A couple of early goals would have made it much easier for us but we were in control the whole time.” he added “The next step for this group of players is to make a final, we are ranked fourth in the world and have been very much playing to that ranking, unable to make that next step to get the right result in semi-finals. It doesn’t matter who we face, we’re confident going into the Australia game, we have lost a few times but we’ve also already beaten them.”
England will now await the conclusion of the remaining pool games with a semi-final clash against world champions Australia looking the most likely.