Great Britain’s women were beaten by a resilient China side in their latest FIH Pro League match in London.
On a night when Laura Unsworth earned her 100th GB cap, it was the visitors who took their third win in the league, all the game’s goals coming in the second half.
Giselle Ansley got Britain’s goal with a well-taken penalty corner, but efforts from Zixia Ou and Yang Peng proved decisive as China earned all three points.
Britain moved down to eighth in the table after this result, and have two weeks to prepare for their next London fixtures against Argentina and Belgium on 18 and 19 May.
Britain started brightly on home turf, and after a couple of good circle entries, it was Sarah Robertson who first stung the goalkeeper’s palms, seeing a rasping effort on the reverse well saved by Jiao Ye.
Moments later though Yang Peng went on a darting run for the visitors, Nicki Cochrane well placed to save in the GB goal. And then moments later Cochrane was again required to make an important stop at the back post as China closed in.
As the first quarter came to its close, Robertson again looked to beat Ye on the reverse but the ‘keeper saved well.
Into the second period and both sides had periods of decent possession; China disappointed not to capitalise on a good opportunity as Jinrong Zhang swung and missed.
Within seconds of the restart, Britain came close to the opener; Tess Howard crashing a cracking effort into the crossbar. But it was China who took the advantage. With Laura Unsworth off the pitch for a green card, Zixia Ou smashed in a cross that Anna Toman could only touch into her own goal under pressure at the back post.
Britain soon found a way back into the game and – like in the first home match six days ago – it was Giselle Ansley who hit the target from a penalty corner. The game continued to ebb and flow, and this time it was Peng who scored from a corner; expertly deflecting past Cochrane.
With time ticking away, GB dispensed with the services of their goalkeeper, and despite sustained possession they were unable to find a way through a resolute defence. China took a third win so far in the league, and having beaten New Zealand and Germany already this was a key scalp for the visitors; Britain unable to convert possession into goals.
Next for Mark Hager’s side is Argentina in a sold-out double header on Saturday 18 May, followed by Belgium the following day.
Great Britain 1
Ansley (41′, PC)
Ou (35′, FG); Peng (44′, PC)
GBR: Cochrane (GK), Ansley, Pearne-Webb (C), Unsworth, Costello, Toman, Balsdon, Defroand, Howard, Robertson, Petty, Rayer, Sanders, Evans, Owsley, Malzer, Martin
Unused: Tennant (GK)
Courtesy of GB Hockey