Ireland’s World League 2 campaign began in earnest yesterday with a 5-2 victory over Bangladesh in New Delhi, India.
Andrew Meredith’s Green Machine started the game brightly, maintaining good possession and forcing 2 short corners within the first 16 minutes, both of which resulted in acrobatic clearances on the goal line.
Despite Ireland’s early good play the Green Machine were caught napping on an extremely quick counter-attack by Bangladesh in the 17th minute which was expertly tucked home by Islam following good play from Mosiur to give Bangladesh a shock 1-0 lead. Things went from bad to worse for Ireland as within 4 minutes the Bangladeshi’s extended their lead to 2-0 following a penalty corner conversion from Chayan.
Ireland’s response was almost instant though and within 3 minutes they had pulled their first goal back as Alan Sothern swooped to finish off a clever move involving Mitch Darling & Eugene Magee. It was the shot in the arm the Green Machine needed and within 7 minutes the game had swung back in Ireland’s favour as Sothern again struck to make the score line 2-2 following good play from World League debutant Peter Brown. Ireland finished the first half in fine form and Chris Cargo, celebrating his 27th Birthday put the icing on the first half comeback by edging Ireland 3-2 in front right before the break.
Ireland’s second half performance was much improved but it still took some time to break down a resolute defence before the Green Machine could have the much needed breathing space they craved. A succession of penalty corners came and went before UCD man, Shane O ‘Donoghue finally struck in the 55th minute to give Ireland the 4-2 advantage. Ireland continued to probe around the Bangladeshi defence and finally in the 66th minute, Pembroke Wanderers’ Alan Sothern was able to notch his hat trick and put the game beyond doubt for the Green Machine. Sothern, deservedly named Man of the Match, took his third delightfully, finishing coolly following great play from Eugene Magee.
As the hooter went, there were no wild celebrations from the Ireland team. A tough start to their World League 2 campaign had been navigated successfully despite some bumps along the way and there is little doubt, Irish Coach Andrew Meredith will be looking forward to analysing his team’s performance ahead of bigger tests vs. China and India in particular later in the week
The Green Machine will have a day of rest today before returning to action again on Wednesday for their second World League 2 game vs. Fiji at 10:30 am Irish time in New Delhi.
Ireland 5 (Sothern x3, Cargo, O’Donohue) Bangladesh 2 (Islam, Chayan)
Ireland Starting XI: D Harte, Jackson, McCabe, Gormley, Watt, Cargo, Magee, McCandless, Darling, C Harte, O ‘Donoghue