Richard Smith breathed a huge sigh of relief as England claimed a stunning 4-1 victory over Germany in the Champions Trophy yesterday.
The Widley talent scored an own goal in the triumph over the Olympic champions in Melbourne.
However, after his misfortune had handed the Germans a route back into the match at 2-1, England powered clear to seal a confidence-boosting win.
It was the perfect riposte after they were beaten by India on Saturday.
In that game, Smith found the net – at the right end – from a penalty corner, only for the Indians to hit back and seal a 3-1 win.
But yesterday they were back on track, much to the delight of Bobby Crutchley.
The assistant coach said: ‘We got our just desserts for sticking rigidly to a game plan.
‘While the Germans always looked dangerous going forward, I thought our defensive unit was excellent.
‘We took our chances and that made all the difference.’
England’s inexperienced side took their chances and were never behind in a match that was littered with cards.
Four greens and four yellows were dished out, while Germany’s Niklas Grell was shown a red.
Beeston pair Adam Dixon and Harry Martin gave England the early impetus with two goals in the opening 10 minutes.
Former City of Portsmouth defender Smith, who now plays for Royal Racing Club de Bruxelles, then saw the ball bounce off his stick and into his net to give Germany hope of a comeback.
Smith’s misfortune was cancelled out at the other end, though, shortly before half-time when Loughborough Students’ Henry Weir forced Mats Grambusch into scoring an own goal.
Leading 3-1 at the break, England defended well in the early stages of the second half.
And when Grell was shown a red card by Australian umpire David Gentles for two yellow-card offences – barging opponents – England extended their lead.
A powerful surge from Dixon down the right set up Reading’s Darren Cheesman to sweep home nine minutes from full-time.
England leapfrogged Germany in their pool with one game – the clash with New Zealand tomorrow – left to play before the quarter-finals.