England down S Africa in goal spree

NEW DELHI: England recorded their second successive win in the men''s field hockey World Cup with a 6-4 thriller against South Africa on Tuesday.

The European champions, who had stunned hot favourites Australia in their first match, edged past the South Africans in a game where both sides suffered defensive lapses.

Richard Mantell scored two penalty corners, while Rob Moore, Ashley Jackson, Nick Catlin and Iain Mackay chipped in with a goal each for England.

Marvin Harper scored twice for South Africa, and Lloyd Norris-Jones and Thornton McDade netted one each.

The first 25 minutes produced four goals as South Africa and England took turns to take the lead, before the two sides took the break deadlocked at 2-2.

England scored thrice in quick succession when play resumed to make it 5-2, before Harper reduced the margin for the Africans. Two more goals ensued - one from either side -- before the final whistle.

It was the first time in World Cup history that England pumped in six goals in a single match. They had scored five against Pakistan in 1998, but still lost the match as their rivals netted seven.

"Scoring six goals means a lot and I am happy with the win, but we were not consistent enough," said England captain Barry Middleton.

"We should have played well throughout the 70 minutes, but we did not do that against the South Africans. Our defence was not up to the mark.

"We have a tough game against Pakistan on Thursday and really need to work on our game," he said.

South African captain Austin Smith said his team made the same mistakes as they did in the 2-4 loss against Spain.

"We competed well in the first half and I was delighted with the 2-2 scoreline," said Smith. "But we let ourselves down in the second half.

"England were very good after the break and scored too many goals. We were left chasing the equaliser which was not easy against a quality team like England."