Ireland forced to settle for frustrating draw against China

Alan Sothern scored for Ireland against China.
Alan Sothern scored for Ireland against China.

In a frustrating match for Irish fans, Ireland dominated much of the tie but struggled to find the back of the net as they had to settle for a 1-1 draw against China.

Alan Sothern equalised after China had taken the lead in the second half.

Captain David Harte said: “We performed well but ultimately our lack of conversion in front 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.”

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 three defenders in the circle but his shot hit the side netting.

The first penalty corner of the game belonged to Ireland but Wang saved Shane O’Donoghue’s drag flick.

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.

China took the lead in the 43rd minute 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 but there was no breakthrough as the sides played out a 1-1 draw.

Ireland’s next match of the Odisha World Cup is on Friday against England.

IRELAND: 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