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England women edged out at Hockey World League

PUBLISHED: 17:27 12 July 2017 | UPDATED: 17:27 12 July 2017

Susannah Townsend in action against Japan (pic Rodrigo Jaramillo/England Hockey)

Susannah Townsend in action against Japan (pic Rodrigo Jaramillo/England Hockey)

APURAFOTO - WSP

Japan 1 England 0

England's Hollie Webb in action in South Africa (pic Rodrigo Jaramillo/England Hockey)England's Hollie Webb in action in South Africa (pic Rodrigo Jaramillo/England Hockey)

A solitary strike from Japan’s Mami Karino sent England’s women to defeat in their Hockey World League clash in Johannesburg.

England dominated possession and created a number of chances but weren’t able to find a way through Japan’s stubborn defence.

Of their 12 efforts, England found the target five times but found Megumi Kageyama in fine form in the Japan goal, and her late saves saw her side over the line.

Reflecting on the match England head coach Danny Kerry said: “Japan started quicker than us and it was a big contrast to playing a slow game against Poland in our first match.

“In the second half we controlled the game and Japan had little to no opportunity whilst we had a number of chances which just didn’t quite fall right for us.

“Importantly we played well in the second half and we need to focus on that rather than the result.”

It was Japan who carved out the first attempt of the match as they raced into the lead in just the third minute when from the left wing a cross was crashed across goal causing confusion as Karino made no mistake from close range.

England responded well to the setback and were soon looking more at home, dominating possession and creating chances.

Sarah Haycroft, making her 50th international appearance, struck into the circle but the ball just evaded both Alex Danson and Sophie Bray in front of goal before Jo Hunter’s effort was smothered by the Japanese goalkeeper.

In the second quarter Japan broke out and threatened to extend their lead, but Maddie Hinch was quickly off her line and down to save well.

England pushed to level but despite their best efforts they weren’t able to create a clear-cut chance ahead of the half time break.

Japan looked refreshed after the interval and were soon exerting pressure of their own on the English back line.

The final 15 minutes was all England as they threw everything at the Japanese defence and Lily Owsley danced past two defenders and cut inside before firing wide while Danson’s reverse stick strike was tipped over the bar by Kageyama.

England forced two late penalty corners while Laura Unsworth also had a shot saved as Japan dug deep and held firm to see out the remaining minutes and claim the win.

Kerry’s team now face Germany on Friday at 5pm UK time, with the action being shown live on BT Sport.

England: Maddie Hinch, Laura Unsworth, Giselle Ansley, Hollie Webb, Susannah Townsend, Anna Toman, Sarah Haycroft, Emily Defroand, Sophie Bray, Nicola White, Alex Danson, Zoe Shipperley, Hannah Martin, Grace Balsdon, Lily Owsley, Shona McCallin, Jo Hunter, Amy Tennant.

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