Belfius EuroHockey Championships
Men’s Pool C: England 2 (Z Wallace, P Roper) Ireland 1 (M Robson)

England prevailed 2-1 against Ireland to make a big move toward survival at the Belfius EuroHockey Championships in Antwerp, putting Ireland under huge pressure in Pool C.

Two goals in the first quarter from Zach Wallace and Phil Roper made the difference and while Ireland fought back via Michael Robson’s goal, it was not enough to turn the tide.

Wallace put England 1-0 up in the 11th minute following a sublime piece of work on the right sideline from Ashley Jackson, breaking out of three tackles to create an overload. His pass found Sam Ward on the baseline and he laid on the perfect ball for Zach Wallace to score.

A minute later, it was 2-0. Mark Ingram got a solid boot to Ward’s drag-flick but Jackson retrieved the ball and fired it back into the circle where Phil Roper deflected in from around the flick spot.

Ireland, though, slowly worked their way back into the game with Michael Robson going very close when he caught Daragh Walsh’s overhead. And he took his chance in the 21st minute from Eugene Magee’s incisive pass, giving Robson the chance to tip the ball past George Pinner.

The third quarter was tense with Jackson seeing a drag-flick deflected around the post by Jonny Bell. Jamie Carr palmed away a Chris Griffiths shot but, otherwise, chances were at a premium.

The last 15 minutes saw Ireland press on and hold most of the possession but they could not find their way through a condensed, disciplined English defence who left very few chinks in their armoury. One penalty corner in the last two minutes from Shane O’Donoghue was charged down and England had their vital win.

On Sunday, a draw or better will see England safe when they take on Scotland who face the same equation. Wales and Ireland will await that outcome which will have an affect on what they both need to do in their final game.

Umpires: P Vazquez (ESP), A Ortiz (ESP)

England – Ireland
11’ Zach Wallace (FG) 1-0
12’ Phil Roper (PC) 2-0
21’ Michael Robson (FG) 2-1