Hockey World Cup: England 2 China 2
PUBLISHED: 16:34 30 November 2018 | UPDATED: 16:34 30 November 2018
A late goal from Du Talake saw England denied a win in their opening game of the 2018 Men’s Hockey World Cup in India.
Liam Ansell thought he had sewn up victory with a late strike as the forward showed great tenacity to rob the ball off a defender in the circle before producing an inch-perfect finish.
That came after Mark Gleghorne equalised at the end of the first quarter, following a fine solo goal from Guo Xiaoping that gave the world number 17 side the early advantage.
But Du struck with just over a minute to go, sneaking a corner past Harry Gibson and Barry Middleton to secure the draw for this team.
China took a surprise lead in the fifth minute as Guo showed fantastic hand speed with a mazy run down the left before lifting the ball over George Pinner.
That came shortly after Zach Wallace had forced Wang Caiyu into a save as the midfielder caused the Chinese defence plenty of problems on his World Cup debut, seeing another shot deflected over before Ian Sloan flashed an effort wide.
England, who included Hampstead & Westminster’s Harry Martin and Will Calnan, pressed further in the second quarter, with Ansell seeing a fierce strike blocked while a diving Middleton couldn’t quite turn in Luke Taylor’s corner.
Their defence was also kept alert as they were required to keep out three successive corners, Liam Sanford charging down two while Gibson saved the other.
The chances kept coming in the third quarter but England still couldn’t find their second as Middleton mis-hit a shot on the turn wide, Martin fired over the bar and Dave Condon was denied by Wang’s face after a great run down the right.
It finally came though in the 48th minute as Ansell struck, while Phil Roper was unlucky not to score himself seconds later as his effort on the reverse smashed the crossbar.
The final word was to go to China though as Du somehow managed to find a gap between keeper and defender to equalise.
Next up for England is a meeting with Australia on Tuesday (December 4), with the match shown live on BT Sport at 11.30am.
England: George Pinner, David Ames, Ian Sloan, Mark Gleghorne, Phil Roper (C), Adam Dixon, Barry Middleton, Liam Ansell, James Gall, Liam Sanford, Zach Wallace. Subs: Harry Gibson, Luke Taylor, Harry Martin, Michael Hoare, David Condon, Jack Waller, Will Calnan.