London 2012: Majestic Martin helps Team GB to winning start
Team GB 4 Argentina 1
London-based quartet Harry Martin, Matt Daly, Robert Moore and James Tindall played their part in Team GB’s stylish win over Argentina at the Riverbank Arena.
Backed by an excitable crowd, GB came through their opening Group A match with little difficulty, with 19-year-old Martin of Old Loughtonians particularly impressive in midfield on his Olympic debut.
Nicholas Catlin, Glenn Kirkham and Jonathan Clarke had shots saved by busy Argentine goalkeeper Juan Manuel Vivaldi in the opening quarter of an hour.
While Ashley Jackson had a goal disallowed as Great Britain’s men made an assured start.
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As the hosts continued to frustrate their opponents Ignacio Bergner was shown a green card, leaving Argentina briefly a man light.
And GB took full advantage to make the breakthrough on 22 minutes when Barry Middleton opened the scoring from a penalty corner, beating Vivaldi at his near post with a fierce low drive.
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Jackson twice tested the keeper again before the conclusion of a bad-tempered first half, which finished with Catlin shown a green card.
Shortly after the restart, Facundo Callioni ghosted unmarked into the area, but a wonderful reaction save from James Fair denied the Argentine forward from close range.
On 41 minutes, skipper Middleton doubled his and GB’s goal tally.
A fine team move culminated with Jackson squaring to Middleton who fired underneath the goalkeeper.
With the second half continuing in the same physical vein as the first, Daly – from Long Ditton, Surrey – and Agustin Mazzili were shown yellow cards – leaving both sides a man light for five minutes.
GB capitalised on the extra space to launch a quick counter and Daniel Fox finished off as he fired in, virtually unchallenged, his first international goal on 49 minutes.
And Britain turned on the style when Richard Smith netted the fourth from a penalty corner three minutes later to put the result beyond doubt.
A noisy crowd inside the Riverbank Arena began to chant ‘we want five’, but it was Argentina who responded when Pedro Ibarra fired in a consolation from a penalty corner.