Commonwealth Games 2018: England 3 Wales 2
PUBLISHED: 08:26 10 April 2018 | UPDATED: 08:26 10 April 2018
PA Wire/PA Images
England's hockey men came from two goals down at half-time to beat Wales and book a place in the semi-finals at the Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Sam Ward proved the hero with a hat-trick, but England were made to work extremely hard by their British rivals before they could celebrate.
England, who include Hampstead & Westminster’s Harry Martin, had beaten Malaysia and drawn with Pakistan in their first two matches, while Wales – with Martin’s clubmates Steve Kelly and Rupert Shipperley in their squad – had drawn with Pakistan but then lost to Malaysia and India.
And England had the first chance as David Condon’s shot went wide of the post, before David Kettle denied Mark Gleghorne from a short corner.
Liam Ansell hit a post for England in the second quarter, with Shipperley producing a brilliant clearance to deny Barry Middleton.
Ward forced James Fortnam into a save with his foot, before Wales broke the deadlock as Luke Hawker diverted Ioan Wall’s cross past Harry Gibson.
Ben Francis doubled the lead on the stroke of half time from another short corner, with George Pinner called upon to make a save from Dale Hutchinson five minutes into the second half.
England rallied and Condon saw a shot saved by Kettle, before Ward deflected Lian Sanford’s pass beyond Fortnam.
Ward fired home a corner to level, after co-captain Phil Roper had gone close, and England dominated in the closing stages as they searched for a winner.
Francis had a deflection saved by Gibson, while Lewis Prosser’s goalline block denied James Gall, before Ward fired a shot on the turn past Fortnam with three minutes remaining.
England play India in their final group game on Wednesday (10.30am), with the women in semi-final action on Thursday.