Eurosport - Thu, 04 Mar 16:40:00 2010
Jonty Clarke and Barry Middleton both hit two to make it three wins out of three for England as they defeated Pakistan at the Hockey World Cup in Delhi.
But the 5-3 victory was tainted with the news that key defender Richard Mantell was taken to hospital for scans on a suspected broken leg.
"In the first half we took all that Pakistan threw at us and scored two cracking counter attacking goals," said England manager Andy Halliday.
"In the second half, Pakistan battled back into it. And then we lost Richard. In that phase of the game they put us under intense pressure and to battle back like we did after losing a key player was absolutely outstanding."
England had enjoyed the best of the opening exchanges and had a goal disallowed after only four minutes when James Tindall's effort was judged to be dangerous play by the video referee as he struck the ball with his stick above shoulder height.
Captain Middleton had a great opportunity to give his side the lead on eight minutes but could not make contact with a cross in from the left wing by Richard Alexander before a penalty corner on 15 minutes saw Mantell flick the ball just wide of the left post.
Eventually England's pressure paid off as Clarke scored his first goal of the tournament, getting on the end of a Tindall cross to send the ball into the top corner.
Pakistan came back into the game as the first half went on with two penalty corners but England goalkeeper James Fair was on form to save well from Sohail Abbas in Pakistan's best chance of the half.
But England were 2-0 up by half-time courtesy of Ashley Jackson on 32 minutes as the World Hockey Young Player of the Year deflected in a cross from Middleton.
Pakistan came out fighting at the start of the second half and soon pulled a goal back through Shakeel Abbasi on 45 minutes after mistakes in the England defence allowed Abbasi to stroke the ball into the goal.
Just two minutes later Pakistan were level as Rehan Butt made the most of some confusion in the circle to score from close range following a penalty corner.
To make matters worse for England, Mantell was stretchered off with a horrific leg injury and Iain Mackay found himself in the sin bin for five minutes following an off-the-ball incident.
But despite being a man down, England recaptured the lead when keeper Salman Akbar could not clear, allowing Alexander to pass to Middleton who slotted home.
And Clarke made the game safe with eight minutes, remaining scoring his second of the game before setting up Middleton to give England a comfortable three-goal cushion on 75 minutes.
Favourites Australia thumped South Africa 12-0, a record victory margin in the tournament.
Luke Doerner netted four times for Australia, ranked second in the world, as they enjoyed their second win in three games in Pool B.
Champions Trophy holders Australia, who suffered a surprise defeat to England in their opening game, raced to a 5-0 half-time lead.
Jamie Dwyer struck three goals and Glenn Turner two as the former champions handed South Africa their third defeat in as many games.
Olympic silver medallists Spain beat India by an identical margin at the Dhyan Chand National Hockey Stadium.
Pau Quemada scored two goals to help Spain record their second win to keep their semi-final hopes alive.