Neha Goyal scored the only goal for India but Great Britain managed to level the five-match series 1-1 with one more match to play. (Image credit: Twitter)
The Indian women's hockey team tasted its first defeat on England tour when it went down 1-3 against Great Britain in the fourth match in Marlow on Wednesday. Great Britain took an early lead through Hannah Martin (5th minute) but India's Neha Goyal (18th) scored the equaliser. However, a goal before half-time from Charlotte Watson (29th), and one in the last quarter through Giselle Ansley (50th) meant that Great Britain secured their first win of the tour, snapping India's unbeaten run. World No 9 India had notched up a 2-1 win in the first match, before drawing the next two games 1-1 and 0-0 respectively. The hosts dominated possession in the early stages and won their first penalty corner in just the 3rd minute, but India's goalkeeper Rajani Etimarpu produced a fine save to deny the hosts early on.
However, the visitors could not deny the hosts on the second occasion as they took the lead through a field goal by Hannah in the 5th minute. India gradually came into the game, and had a few chances of their own in the latter stages of the first quarter, but were denied by Maddie Hinch during back-to-back penalty corners. With the momentum on their side, the Indian team combined well at the start of the second quarter, and pressed for the equaliser, which eventually came in the 18th minute as Neha produced a slick finish to make it 1-1, and put the pressure back on the host nation.
Four minutes later, Great Britain had another penalty corner, but were denied by the first rusher, while India also won themselves back-to-back PCs in the 24th minute, but could not get past their Goalkeeper Hinch. It was in the 29th minute at the stroke of half-time that Great Britain created a great chance through combination play by their forwards, and managed to take a 2-1 lead into half-time as Charlotte Watson scored their second.
The third quarter saw a great battle between the two sides, as both of them tried to create chances. India were looking to equalize for the second time in the match, while the hosts wanted to extend their lead. Great Britain had a wonderful chance to make it 3-1 in the 40th minute as they won themselves a Penalty Corner, but could not beat India's Savita, who had replaced Etimarpu in the third quarter.
Neither team could create any real opportunity in the third period, and were battling it out in midfield. The drying up of chances for both the teams meant that Great Britain maintained their 2-1 advantage at the break with 15 minutes to play. The Indian team tried to attack their opponents more in the last quarter, as they looked for the equalizer, meaning they had more players up the field. The tactic meant that the hosts looked to counter their opposition on the break of possession, and were actually successful in doing so in the 50th minute when the Indian defence had to concede a Penalty Stroke after an obstruction inside the striking circle.
The resulting execution from the spot was taken and converted by Giselle Ansley, who made it 3-1 in the hosts' favour. India had a few chances in the last 10 minutes to make a comeback, but could not produce that cutting-edge pass in the final third to score again in the match, as the hosts ran away with a 3-1 win in the third match. India will play Great Britain in their fifth and final match of the Tour on Friday.