Thompsons gun down England
England’s bright start to their opening game ended as an exercise in chasing shadows as the Iroquois unleashed a bewildering skills display at the World Championships.
The Thompson trio terrorised a committed defence and repeatedly ghosted past cover and through a fury of checking to score goals that would grace any highlight reel.
The Iroquois play liquid lacrosse with a free-flowing elegance that is difficult to counter and the Thompsons were at the creative heart of a team with genuine title potential.
Jeremy scored six, Lyle, three, and Miles was an assist machine but the Hollywood moment was provided by Lyle who pulled a swim move to beat his marker before shooting underarm, one handed in the same graceful movement.
It was lacrosse gold.
But England had started well in a game delayed by 90 minutes because of a Biblical thunderstorm that swamped the Dicks Sporting Goods arena and the epic Japan v Australia game running to sudden death overtime before the Aussies edged it.
Nick Watson, England’s main threat throughout the match, drove from behind, drew a double and fed Sam Russell who fired home for a 1-0 lead on three minutes.
Lyle Thompson replied with a spin move on the crease and a perfectly placed shot but England enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and Ben McAllister repelled the Iroquois with a procession of high quality saves.
England we’re creating more chances but the Iroquois looked ominously dangerous. Tom Williamson and his defence were solid in denying the Thompsons the space to wriggle free and the quarter finished 1-1.
The hard work paid off when Matt Sexton found Timperley’s Jack Brook who fired England into a 2-1 lead but the way Zach Miller swept past the cover to score from a tight angle to equalise started alarm bells ringing.
The Thompson connection gave them the lead after 12 minutes as Jeremy fed Lyle for an earth-scorching shot.
The last three minutes saw the Iroquois storm ahead with three quick goals and, with Vaughn Harris dominating face off, a worrying template for the game was developing. England had possession but struggled to translate it into clear chances while the Iroquois were playing with potent freedom.
A 7-2 half-time score meant the game was still on and a Watson strike, from a Tom Gosnay feed, provided fresh hope. But it was short-lived as the Thompsons went to town and Lyle’s wonder goal for 8-3 signalled a significant gear change in the game.
Their box skills were a prime feature as England’s muscular defence struggled to force turnovers and conceded three goals in another lethal three minute spell as the Iroquois provided a lesson in cutting and exquisitely timed feeds.
England shuffled the pack and brought Nick Anderton in goal but The team’s hard working efforts failed to rattle the Iroquois defence which was agile and attentive. Jeremy Thompson scored two more in the final quarter before Russell did a neat right to left stick shift to fire home the last goal.
Fans marvelled at the astonishing skills and silky movement of the Iroquois while England will be working on ways to transform possession into chances and goals.
England face Canada tonight.
Scorers: Sam Russell 2, Jack Brook, Nick Watson