Ireland 1-1 China

Ireland were unable to turn possession into goal-scoring chances as they were held to a 1-1 draw against China at the Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar.

Alexander Cox's side dominated play from the early stages of this Pool B encounter, opting for a patient, possession-based approach against their defence-minded opponents.

Yet the goalmouth action was limited inside the opening quarter, which only really came to life in the final three minutes as Ireland enjoyed some good passages of play from Alan Sothern, Eugene Magee, Matthew Nelson and Sean Murray but to no avail.

The second quarter came to life in the fourth minute as Ireland were awarded a penalty corner but Shane O'Donoghue's shot from the set-piece was well saved by Caiyu Wang in the China goal.

China, by this stage, appeared happy to sit deep as Ireland knocked the ball about at the back, unchallenged, while O'Donoghue, the goalscorer against Australia in the first game, seemed to be getting more space in the circle as Ireland looked to create an opening.

Magee was again causing real problems down the right and worked his way into an excellent position at the base-line but a well-organised China defence kept the ball out, while a last-minute effort in from the left could not be turned home.

Ireland looked to change things up in midfield in the second half but it was China who were quickest to start and forced a penalty corner early in the third quarter. Ireland keeper, David Harte, had relatively little to do at this stage but the captain kept his concentration to make a decent save low to his right from the set-piece.

More passages of Ireland play led to plenty of excitement in and around the China goal with substitute Michael Darling and Sothern both looking dangerous, but the China defence again held firm.

And then the Asian side took a shock lead with just three minutes of the third quarter remaining.

Jonathan Bell picked up a yellow card for treading on the ankle of his opponent, leading to another penalty corner.

This time, China took the unorthodox route and a clever, training-ground routine paid dividends as Guo Jin's powerful effort flew in off the left post, leaving Harte with no chance.

Ireland, to their credit, hit back within a minute as Sothern made excellent contact with a rasping delivery from the left.

The Ireland frontman got down low to angle his effort on target from six yards out, the ball flying past the impressive Chinese keeper.

The frenetic ending to the quarter resulted in another penalty corner to China but this time Harte made the save, the scores level going into the final 15 minutes.

Chinese confidence grew throughout the final period and it took the Irish a while to regain the upper hand, with the clock ticking at the Kalinga Stadium.

Inside the final five minutes, Irish pressure finally paid off as the Green Machine won a penalty corner with less than three minutes remaining on the clock.

A well-worked routine ended up with a shot on target, but Wang had read the play well and stood strong to bat the ball clear. 

The frantic finish to the game failed to create anything of note and Ireland ran out of time, the match finishing all-square.

Ireland now face England on Friday (7pm Irish time), knowing that another draw will see them through to the knock-out phase, however, a defeat will see Ireland exit the tournament at the end of Pool B.

Speaking after the draw, captain David Harte said: "We performed well but ultimately our lack of conversion infront of goal came back to haunt us unfortunately.

"All the statistics were in our favour but you have to take the opportunities presented to you, we know every game in a World Cup is going to be a difficult one".

Ireland: D Harte (captain), J Bell, M Nelson, A Sothern, E Magee, K Shimmins, S O’Donoghue, S Murray, P Gleghorne, C Harte, S Loughrey.

Subs: M Bell, C Cargo, M Darling, M Robson, D Fitzgerald, D Walsh, L Cole.