Johor Bahru (Malaysia), Oct 12 (IANS) Defending champions India wasted a 3-1 lead to suffering a 3-4 defeat against Britain during their second match of the 5th Sultan of Johor Cup junior hockey tournament here on Monday. Sumit Kumar (17th and 26th minutes) and Manpreet Singh (29th) scored for India after James Simpson has put the last year’s runners-up ahead in the sixth minute. But goals from Luke Taylor (30th), Jack Clee (47th) put Britain on level. Drag-flicker Taylor scored his second goal two minutes from the final hooter to hand a heartbreaking loss for India.
It was Britain’s second consecutive win while India thrashed Pakistan in the opener. As was expected both the teams started with great speed and it was Britain who took the lead with a field goal from Simpson. Britain put further pressure on the Indians and were rewarded with a penalty corner in the 10th minute, but it was saved by the Indian goalie. India maintained their attack and in the 17th minute Varun Kumar entered the circle from the right flank and passed the ball to Sumit, who pounced on a defensive error from captain Taylor to bring the equaliser. India upped the ante and Sumit scored yet another superb field goal in the 26th minute to make it 2-1. Three minutes later, it was Manpreet who beat the Britain goalkeeper to make it 3-1. Britain captain reduced the margin to one with a successful penalty conversion one minute later. India got a penalty corner early into the second half, but it was saved by the rival goalkeeper. This was followed by Britain being given a penalty corner and Taylor hit it hard but was cleared by the Indian goalie.
However, Clee scored on the rebound to equalise 3-3 in the 47th minute. Halfway into the session India got another opportunity to go one up through a penalty corner but the ball was hit wide of the goal box. When the match looked like getting drawn, Taylor, in the 68th minute, once again stepped to successfully convert a penalty corner and give his team a 4-3 win. India will face Argentina in their next match on Wednesday.