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England hold off Israeli resurgence to go 3-0 for the series

A Tom Brook goal with five minutes to play was enough to see England to a 10-9 win in Game 3 after Israel made storming second-half comeback in Ashkelon.

England gave up a six-goal half-time lead but fought back with another vital last quarter rally to earn their third win out of three in Israel.

England opened their account after a fast break following an Israel offside call with Sam Russell eventually shifting it to Zac Guy free on the left to get the scoring going.

Josh Sherry-Brennan quickly doubled the lead after Alex Russell got a yard on his defender behind the goal to come round and feed Sherry-Brennan to finish across the ‘keeper.

The Israelis did pull one back just before the end of the first quarter to keep it tight at 2-1 but it was to be the second quarter where Team England really exploded into life hitting the hosts with a brutal six-goal streak.

It was Sherry-Brennan again to get England’s third, who has proven a real livewire in Games 2 and 3 with his constant off-ball movement and explosive finishing, this time making good use of an Elliot Leonard pick to get space and hit the top corner.

This was the beginning of a real hot period and while in previous games, the boys have struggled with accuracy early on, the attackmen weren’t afraid to take their shots at the right times, Alex Russell increasing the advantage to 4-1.

Will Hardy was the next to find the net, finishing off a good settled possession with England confusing the Israeli defence, loading all their attackmen in front of goal as Ryan Sweetman took the ball behind and fed an open Hardy who cracked one through the crowd at a distance.

England also had a lot of joy from the face-off in Q2 with Tom Brook and Sam Patterson working well in tandem to secure a lot of possession and from the following a face secured good ball which eventually allowed Ryan Hunns to make a great individual effort beating his man for pace on the outside and scoring to make it 6-1.

Better was yet to come, and after turning over possession from a great hustle by the attack, Sweetman drove forcefully straight at his defender making him retreat and allow the space to score.

England really had Israel on the ropes and following another aggressive ride from the midfield, Jak Wawrzyniak caused the turnover which Tommy Kirkland passed up on a fast transition and Guy was more than happy to score his second unmarked to make it 8-1.

Team England did concede just before the half on a man down, but it was the near perfect half that saw the visitors lead 8-2.

If the second quarter was near perfect, Q3 turned out to be anything but, with Israel staging a rousing comeback.

A quickfire double inside the first two minutes set the tone for what would be a very uncomfortable period for England, after Israel made it 8-3, they then took the resulting face-off and were allowed to break straight down the middle to add another.

A penalty call on Sweetman from the next face for an illegal body-check added to a lax five-minute period in which Israel cut the gap to three just before the penalty expiration making it 8-5.

Credit to Israel, off the back off some wasteful English possessions, they were making their chances count and at the end of third they were back within one at 8-7.

And with 15:45 to play England’s lead had disappeared courtesy of a long range effort tieing things at 8-8.

Throughout this series, we have seen thrilling last quarters and today was to be no different with England needing to show dogged determination to halt the Israeli momentum that had been building.

The boys began to look to retain possession better and at the end of a long set, Elliot Leonard finally managed to stem the tide finding the far bottom corner from the tightest of angles after working around the back of the crease.

Both teams had chances to score after but another costly penalty against England allowed Israel to convert another extra man opportunity set the game on a knife-edge with 5:48 on the clock.

Then came what was to prove the decisive moment; Brook claiming a clean face-off and rather than looking to set up the attack, he headed route one straight for the goal and on the bounce put England 10-9 ahead.

England tried to run down the remaining 4:00 but were caught out with 1:00 on the clock and England would have to defend a nervy last few shots but Hal Dwobeng and his defence held firm with a couple of saves to send England to victory and 3-0 for the series.

The teams meet again tomorrow in Herzliya with a 7pm face-off UK Time as England look to remain unbeaten.

WATCH the full game back below on Facebook from Sport 5, Israeli national television channel, streamed through Lacrosse All Stars