A wonderful late strike from Sam Ward was not enough to stop England falling to a narrow defeat to Australia in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup final.
The Beeston forward’s well taken 54th minute goal – his fifth of the tournament – set up a grandstand finish in front of a packed, noisy and colourful Malaysian crowd.
But it was not enough to fully overturn the two goal advantage Australia had given themselves seconds before as Lachlan Sharp added to Blake Govers’ early second half effort.
Yet while it may not have been the result they wanted, the performance was certainly an encouraging one from England – ranked six places below the Australians and missing two players – as they prepare for next month’s Commonwealth Games.
After the match head coach Bobby Crutchley said: “We didn’t show enough consistency, we had some very good spells but struggled to maintain them for long enough.
“We are really pleased with how we battled back into the game, despite playing with only 16 players, our physical contribution was impressive after a tough schedule.”
England Starting XI: Harry Gibson (GK), Ollie Willars, Henry Weir, Harry Martin, Chris Griffiths, Mark Gleghorne, Phil Roper, Barry Middleton, Brendan Creed, David Goofdield, David Condon
Subs: George Pinner (GK, C), Sam Ward, Adam Dixon, Liam Ansell, James Gall