Hockey World League: England 4 China 1
PUBLISHED: 09:30 21 November 2017
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England's women proved too strong for China to book a quarter-final place at the Hockey World League Final in New Zealand.
Both sides had lost their first two group matches to Germany and Argentina and China had the first chance of the match in Auckland, but sent a tight-angled shot wide of the far post on four minutes.
England opened the scoring before the end of the first quarter, though, as captain Alex Danson reacted quickest in the D to score her 106th international goal after Lily Owsley’s shot was saved.
And it was 2-0 just two minutes later when good work by Hannah Martin set up Sophie Bray to find the net.
England continued to pile on the pressure in the second quarter, camping in China’s half, and they went close to a third when Danson hit a post.
The second half was only five minutes old when Danson turned provider with a run down the byline before finding Martin to turn the ball home for England’s third goal.
But China hit back through Mengling Zhong on 45 minutes to give themselves a glimmer of hope for the final quarter.
Owsley continued to cause problems as England began well after the restart and saw the ball cleared off the line after a strong run, while Bray also had a shot well saved.
But it was 4-1 wit six minutes remaining as Sarah Haycroft tucked the ball home from close range and England will now prepare to face the Americans on Thursday (5am British time).
England: Hinch, Unsworth, Martin, Paige, Danson, Ansley, Bray, Pearne-Webb, McCallin, Owsley, Balsdon. Replacements: Haycroft, Toman, Petty, Sanders, Rayer, Defroand, Tennant.