Ireland won a high-tempo match this afternoon to take a 1-0 lead in the three test series being played at Lisnagarvey Hockey Club, Comber Road, Hillsborough, Co Down. This game was in marked contrast to the defence dominated battle on Thursdaynight that ended in a draw.
Ireland scored the opener midway through the first quarter through a Sean Murray screamer with a first time strike as the ball came across the top of the circle that fairly flew past the stranded Pakistan keeper into the roof of the net. Pakistan made a few good chances of their own in response and Ingram needed to make some fine interceptions in the Ireland goal to keep Ireland’s noses ahead. Ireland debutant Luke Madeley had a strong performance in the Ireland defence.
Pakistan got their equaliser somewhat fortuitously from the penalty spot after a goal bound shot caught a defenders body on route to goal. Ireland appealed that the goalkeeper was still to be beaten but the award stood and was despatched with some aplomb by Muhammad Umar Bhutta for 1-1 at half time.
The third quarter started at a great pace and just a couple of minutes after the restart a flowing move involving a rejuvenated Peter Caruth carved open the Pakistani defence. Caruth off-loaded to Shane O’Donoghue at the top of the circle. O’Donoghue then stepped inside and flashed the ball across goal on his reverse where Alan Sothern got in front of his man to deflect into the roof of the net to score a classic striker’s goal. From that point on, Pakistan dominated possession in the quarter but Ireland’s defence held firm. 2-1 Ireland at the end of the quarter.
The fourth quarter was quiet quite until Pakistan conjured up an equaliser from a bit of slick passing around the Ireland defence. Ali Shan found himself unmarked at the far post for the simplest of tap-ins to a ball driven hard across the Irish circle. All to play for with 8 minutes left.
Ireland won a final short corner and although set-piece did not go quite to plan some great improvisation from O’Donoghue saw him score the winner after dancing around a couple of Pakistan defenders for a late 3-2 lead.
Ireland saw the game out without any further scares for the win that puts them in a good position to win the series with the final match tomorrow afternoon at 2:00pm (also at Comber Road).