It was a frustrating match for Irish fans as the Green Machine dominated much of the tie but struggled to find the back of the net. Eugene Magee forced the first save of the game from Caiyu Wang as he got the faintest of touches in front of goal from Chris Cargo’s sweep into the circle. Moments later, Alan Sothern released a reverse strike from a tight angle only to see it skim over the crossbar. The Irish pressure didn’t let up and Matthew Nelson evaded 3 defenders in the circle but his shot hit the side netting. The first penalty corner of the game belonged to the Green Machine but Wang saved Shane O’Donoghue’s drag flick. China’s scramble defence was just about holding up and they countered when possible but the half belonged to Ireland, and Mitch Darling sent a pass across the face of goal at the end of the opening 30 minutes but nobody could get the vital touch.
China disrupted proceedings in the opening minute of the second half by winning their first penalty corner but David Harte was on hand to save Talake Du’s effort. From there it was similar to the first half with both Mitch Darling and Sothern seeing their shots on goal go just past the post. However, it was China who took the lead in the 43rdminute from a well-worked penalty corner routine that saw Du slip the ball to Jin Guo who dragged home. But Ireland responded within a minute as Michael Robson sent a reverse pass into the circle at pace for Sothern to deflect into the goal from the penalty spot. Ireland continued to up the pressure and Magee created another clear-cut chance as he used his 3D skills to dart along the baseline and pull the ball back but there wasn’t a team mate on hand to fire home. Ireland remained composed as the clock wound down and won another penalty corner; Wang palmed O’Donoghue’s shot away and the sides played out a 1-1 draw.
Speaking after the fixture, captain David Harte said “We performed well but ultimately our lack of conversion infront of goal came back to haunt us unfortunately. All the statistics were in our favour but you have to take the opportunities presented to you, we know every game in a World Cup is going to be a difficult one”.
Ireland’s next match of the Odisha World Cup is on Friday (December 7th) at 7pm IST/1:30PM GMT against England.
Starting: D Harte (captain), J Bell, M Nelson, A Sothern, E Magee, K Shimmins, S O’Donoghue, S Murray, P Gleghorne, C Harte, S Loughrey
Subs: M Bell, C Cargo, M Darling, M Robson, D Fitzgerald, D Walsh, L Cole