Game three of Great Britain's Olympic hockey campaign was going to be a pivotal match in their medal quest. Having struggled to a draw against South Africa on Wednesday evening, it was key that they got the right result against a Pakistan side who are capable of great hockey on their day.
As it was, Great Britain got off to the dream start as James Tindall cooly slotted home a reverse-stick shot after three minutes of the game. Great work from Ashley Jackson down the right-hand side set up the chance and Tindall made no mistake from six yards out. GB clearly had an aggressive plan and they were unfortunate not to make it 2-0 shortly after. After winning a short corner, a drag-flick from the pin-up boy Jackson was tipped over by the brave Pakistan defender on the line.
With 20 minutes gone and GB enjoying most of the play, the Pakistan team found themselves down to nine men thanks to two green cards, the second of which was due to them having too many players on the pitch. They managed to hold off the advances of Great Britain and then a heavy stick tackle from Rob Moore resulted in GB having to play with ten men themselves for two minutes.
After 25 minutes, a moment of end-to-end magic brought about a second goal for Great Britain. A long ball down the right hand side was expertly picked up by superstar Jackson and having danced past a couple of loose tackles, he slipped the ball through to Nick Catlin who then drew out the 'keeper and passed the ball to Jonty Clarke who had the simple task of slotting into the empty goal.
The Pakistanis ended the first-half camped in the Great Britain half, but it all came to no avail, however a yellow card for Jackson meant Great Britain would have to start the second half with ten men.
Pakistan got off to a better start in the second-half and appeared to catch Great Britain napping as they won three short corners in quick succession. Fortunately the great Sohail Abbas could not convert any of the opportunities. With the ball pinging around the pitch, Great Britain's first penalty corner didn't arrive until fourteen minutes of the second half gone. It was charged down by a defender's body and the resulting corner was converted by Jackson to give him a deserved goal to extend Great Britain's lead to 3-0 with twenty minutes remaining.
The action then settled down until the final five minutes when Pakistan began to tire. A couple of back-to-back short corners for Team GB lead to a second goal for Jackson which sealed the three points in front of a packed home crowd. A late short corner strike from captain Abbas gave Pakistan a consolation goal but it was too little too late as Great Britain ended worthy winners.
The next game for Great Britain is on Sunday evening against Australia, ranked as the world number one side. This will be the real test and will give a clear indication as to whether Team GB can claim another medal at London 2012.