Wales men sail to victory in their third match of the Commonwealth Games with a 6-1 win over Ghana.
Adding to his penalty corner scoring streak, Gareth Furlong got the goals underway with a hat-trick, before Ben Francis, Daniel Kyriakides and Owain Dolan-Gray made it six in the final quarter.
The first time the two teams have played in an official tournament, the game got off to a slow start for Wales as they lacked a bit of their usual speed and momentum.
Ghana looked threatening on a few occasions in the first half. Displaying brilliant 3D skills, Samuel Afari made a great run into the circle, finishing off with a reverse stick cross toward the top left corner that just went wide.
Soon after, Ghana’s efforts were rewarded with the first goal of the match. After his first shot was saved by Toby Reynolds Cotterill, Benjamin Kwofie fired his second shot off the backhand into the near post.
With four minutes left of the first half, Wales found the equaliser from a penalty corner with a powerful and precise drag flick from Gareth Furlong.
As the second half got under way, Wales started to look more positive, passing the ball faster and creating more opportunities.
A great backhand shot from Jacob Draper on the edge of the circle was saved by the foot of Tyche Offei.
The tide soon turned for Wales as the goals started rolling in. After two well run-down Welsh penalty corners, Wales changed their angle on the third chance and Furlong fired the ball into the near top corner of the net.
Securing his hat-trick, Furlong got the third of the game, this time sending the ball into the bottom corner from another penalty corner in the last few minutes of the third quarter.
In the last quarter, Ben Francis got Wales’ first field goal of the game. Picking up the rebound after his first shot was saved, Francis tucked it down past the goalkeeper to secure their fourth.
Dominating territory in the last 10 minutes, two goals came in quick succession to cement Wales’ victory.
A nice cross in from Daniel Kyriakides got the fifth, with the final goal coming from a perfect finish to a four-man move from Owain Dolan-Gray.
Wales now sit in third in Pool B with one match left to play. They take on India in their final group game on Thursday at 14:00.
Discussing Wales’ slow start, captain Lewis Prosser said “Our ball handling probably wasn’t up to scratch at the start, so we had to get a hold of that in the second half and we showed that with a few goals towards the end. We had to be more positive. We were a bit tentative to start with.”
“It was an important match for us, so as soon as we started being more positive, we started creating more chances and the goals started coming.”
Looking forward to their final match tomorrow against India, Gareth Furlong said “Of course, back-to-back games is tough, so we’ll make sure we recover well now. It’s basically now a quarterfinal to decide who takes that second and third spot in the group.”
“It will be a tough game as they [India] are a really good side, but if we play like we did against England in patches, we feel confident we can come away with something.”