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GB let lead slip against Ireland


Ireland's John Jackson scored a deserved equaliser against Great Britain

Ireland's John Jackson scored a deserved equaliser against Great Britain

Ireland's John Jackson scored a deserved equaliser against Great Britain

Great Britain squandered an early two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Ireland at the World League Semi-final in Belgium.

As in their opener against the host nation, GB let an advantage slip to leave them with two points from as many games in Antwerp, where the tournament is doubling as an Olympic qualifier.

Captain Barry Middleton opened the scoring after just five minutes when his cross was deflected in by Ireland's John Jackson before a cross-shot from Mark Gleghorn, facing brother Paul in the Irish team, was expertly deflected in by Chris Griffiths.

But from that point GB lost the initiative and after Jackson's penalty corner flick rebounded off the post, Kyle Good diverted in a cross from Mitch Darling.

Ireland's physicality threw their opponents off their stride and Jackson deservedly equalised in the 36th minute after continuing his run to the byline to volley home a loose ball.

GB goalkeeper George Pinner was by far the busiest in the final two quarters, producing one brilliant save to tip a penalty corner onto the post before blocking the rebound and also palming over Conor Harte's shot in the last minute.

"It's frustrating because in both games we've been ahead and they've come back and got draws," said Middleton in his post-match interview.

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"We have a lot of games left to achieve what we want to do here.

"We started well and when we went 2-0 up we just had to do a few more things a bit better. We weren't quite as good as we can be."

GB face the tournament's lowest-ranked side China on Thursday, while Ireland take on Malaysia in their second fixture.

"Overall we're happy with the result," said Ireland coach Craig Fulton.

"We were a bit nervous in the first quarter but settled in the second quarter and got on the scoreboard.

"The second half was pleasing, we created some good phases of play which was more like us."

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