England fought back to seal a late 1-1 draw against India in their opening match of the Women’s Hockey World Cup in London.
A late strike from Lily Owsley saw England come from behind to grab a point in their Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup opener with India.
Neha Goyal gave India the lead in the first half against the run of play but England battled hard and scored a late equaliser with six minutes remaining.
The hosts flew out the traps and won a penalty corner inside the first minute after good work from Ellie Watton. Giselle Ansley’s low flick was well saved to stop England from taking an early lead.
India responded and midway through the first quarter had their first effort of the game but Maddie Hinch was able to kick away the effort with relative ease. The sides entered the first break level.
A flurry of penalty corners saw England begin to dominate the contest in the second quarter. However the hosts found Savita in fine form, twice denying Grace Balsdon and also an effort from Suzy Petty on the left-hand post.
Against the run of play India took the lead through Neha Goyal. A cross was crashed into the circle and somehow found its way through several players where Goyal was waiting to tuck home on the back post and give India the lead at half-time.
England came out fighting early in the second half playing with more assertion putting pressure on the Indian defensive line. Plenty of circle entries followed but no clear cut chances until the 42nd minute.
Susannah Townsend got the ball down the left and a powerful run saw her break into the circle, her cut back made it to Sophie Bray but her effort on the backhand couldn’t find the target and India took their lead into the final 15 minutes.
It was a courageous effort from England who threw everything at India and with eight minutes remaining opted for a kicking back. The gamble paid off as from another penalty corner England levelled.
Unsworth slapped at goal before a brilliant tackle from Sarah Haycroft allowed Watton to cross to Owsley who turned home from close range to spark loud celebrations.
England coach Danny Kerry said he was pleased with the way his team played.
“I need to get away from the result and think about the performance, particularly in the second half where there was just one team in it,” he said.
“It was just whether we could get the luck to go our way.
“I’m proud of how we did after the break where we utterly dominated.
“That is the best Lily has played since she has come back from her broken hand and it gave us a bit of an edge.”
Next up for England are the USA as they continue their campaign in pool B on Wednesday night in front of another bumper crowd.