Wales women lost 0-3 to England in a competitive game at the EuroHockey Qualifiers in Durham.
Closing the gap from the 0-5 defeat to the Commonwealth champions in Birmingham a few weeks ago, Wales were strong in defence and denied the English many chances throughout the 60 minutes of play.
It was a tense and goalless first quarter. While England dominated possession, they created very little real goal scoring opportunities as Wales did their job with a resolute defence.
With Wales down to ten players after a green card for Izzy Webb, England continued to apply pressure on the Welsh defence but to no avail.
A good attacking spell for Wales down the right-hand side showed some promise, but it was England who came out on top with the first penalty corner of the game.
Grace Balsdon’s shot was confidently saved by Welsh goalie Ella Jackson to deny England taking the lead before the first break.
It took till midway through the second quarter to break the goalless deadlock.
A penalty corner save from the Welsh defence went England’s way and a penalty stroke was awarded. This time Balsdon found the back of the net, calmly slotting the ball past Jackson.
A feisty battle, one goal was all that divided the sides going into half-time.
England continued to dominate possession in the second half, applying more pressure on the Welsh defence, but Wales held strong and continued to make life difficult for the English side.
A shot from Laura Unsworth very nearly made it two for the hosts but flew just wide.
England didn’t need to wait long for another opportunity. This time Tess Howard’s shot flew straight through the gap between Jackson and the post, giving them their second of the game.
Wales responded by winning their first penalty corner. The low drag flick in by Xenna Hughes firmly connected with the right foot of Maddie Hinch, denying Wales the chance to encroach on England’s lead.
A flurry of English penalty corners in the final quarter were well defended by the Welsh defence, but as full time drew closer, England cemented their victory with a third and final goal.
Hannah Martin went to ground to force the ball over the line to give them a 3-0 win.
Captains' Leah Wilkinson, Beth Bingham and Sian French said 'Overall we felt we had a positive performance against a tough opponent but were ultimately disappointed with the final result."
"We're happy with the progression shown from the last time we played them [England] in Birmingham and we will take confidence from todays match."
"All our focus is now on our final game tomorrow against Croatia as we look to cement our place in B division for next summer."
Lying second in the table, Wales women play their final match of the tournament against Croatia on Sunday 28th at 10:45.