Great Britain men win Azlan Shah Trophy
PUBLISHED: 17:57 06 May 2017 | UPDATED: 17:57 06 May 2017
Great Britain 4 Australia 3
Great Britain’s men lifted the Azlan Shah Cup after beating Australia in a seven-goal thriller in Malaysia.
No side from the British Isles had won the title since England in 1994, and GB saw off the nine-time champions in an incredible final.
Goals from Alan Forsyth and David Goodfield put GB into an early lead before Eddie Ockenden pegged one back, but Ollie Willars was on hand to extend the lead once again.
Joshua Pollard and Dylan Wotherspoon netted either side of Goodfield’s second goal of the game to make for a tense finale but GB held firm to ensure a memorable victory.
The opening exchanges were understandably tense as both sides felt their way into the contest, but after ten minutes GB found another gear and were soon ahead as Forsyth was found all alone at the top of the circle and fired home his fourth goal of the tournament.
Just minutes later the lead was doubled as a clever penalty corner move freed up Goodfield who tapped into an empty goal.
Australia responded strongly but found Harry Gibson at his very best in the GB goal to deny them at three penalty corners before the end of the first quarter.
Just before half-time the Kookaburras pulled one back through Ockenden when a hit from halfway was deflected into his path and he kept his cool before turning the ball home.
But three minutes after the break and GB had their third goal as Barry Middleton was able to Ollie Willars high up the pitch and he slammed firmly past the onrushing keeper.
Once again though Australia fought back instantly as Wotherspoon broke into the GB circle and his perfect pass found Pollard who pushed in from close distance.
However the scoring wasn’t finished for the third quarter as with two minutes remaining Sam Ward and Forsyth combined to find Goodfield who smartly lifted past the keeper to make it 4-2.
With just over ten minutes to go the seventh goal of the game was scored and Australia ensured it would be a nail biting finish as Wotherspoon tapped past Gibson following a goalmouth scramble.
The Kookaburras piled on some late pressure but some dogged defending from GB kept them at bay and the final whistle sparked joyous scenes.
The victory provides a perfect springboard for the players ahead of the World Hockey League semi-finals in London this summer.
Both England and Scotland will be competing at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre from June 15-25, vying for World Cup qualification along with the likes of Argentina, Holland, India and Pakistan.
Scotland’s Forsyth ended among the tournament’s top scorers with four goals to his name, while Dan Kyriakides became the first Welshman to line up for GB in recent years.
Six players made their Great Britain debuts during this event, including England’s Brendan Creed, James Gall, David Goodfield, Jonty Griffiths and Liam Sanford, plus Wales’ Kyriakides.
Great Britain: Harry Gibson (GK), Ollie Willars, Henry Weir, Ian Sloan (C), Brendan Creed, Dan Kyriakides, Liam Sanford, David Goodfield, Barry Middleton, Sam Ward, Mark Gleghorne.
Subs (Used): Alan Forsyth, Phil Roper, Tom Carson, James Gall, Jonty Griffiths. Subs (Not used): Chris Wyver (GK), Chris Griffiths.