Gershfield on fire for GB in perfect start
A first-half hat-trick from James Gershfield helped GB cruise to an 8-3 victory in their opening match against Belgium.
Things got off to a nightmare start when Michael Sacks was sent off after bringing an opponent down as the last defender inside the first minute.
GB went ahead after 10 minutes when Daran Bern was brought down by the keeper. Gershfield stepped up to confidently dispatch from the penty spot.
GB doubled their lead two minutes later when Guy Morris headed a corner across goal for Gershfield to nod home from close range.
Gershfield completed a 20-minute treble with a composed finish following great work from Stanton.
Belgium hit the post with keeper Matt Davis beaten but GB were well on top as Morris smashed a shot against the post.
Craig Ellis made it 4-0 after 40 minutes with a low shot which beat the dive of the despairing Belgian keeper.
Belgium should have pulled one back on the stroke of half time after David Soutar conceded a penalty but Davis came to the rescue, saving with his legs.
Second half strikes from Daran Bern, Matt Stoke, Danny Cole and Ben Ellis completed the rout with Belgium scoring three times in the last 30 minutes in a game where GB used each member of their 18-man squad.
GB manager Ben Winston told JC Sport: "It was a good way to start the competition but the boys must not become complacent. We were up against a young, raw side and I was delighted with the performance."
Speaking about the sending off, Winston said: "The referee was very strict and I feel for Michael.
"The team responded well and I believe that Belgium got a bit carried away when we were down to 10 men. The pace of Stock, Bern and Gershfield made them pay."
Hat-trick hero James Gershfield said: "Obviously I’m happy with the three goals but this was more about getting the team off to a winning start. I was in the right place at the right time."
Having finished as top-scorer in Rome four years ago with six goals, Gershfield is looking to top that tally. "The way the team plays, they look to me to score the goals but this side has lots of goals in it.
"We're looking to win gold and if I can win the golden boot again, that would be a bonus."
GB’s second match is against Switzerland on Friday afternoon.
Team GB: Matt Davis 8, David Soutar 7, Aron Barnes 8, Guy Morris (capt) 8, Michael Sacks 5, Ben Lauffer 8, C. Ellis 8, Daniel Stanton 8, Daran Bern 7, James Gershfield 9, Matt Stock 7. Subs (all used): Dan Lee 5, Daniel Cole 8, Paul Babai 7, George Fierstone 8, Ben Ellis 8, Adam Stolerman 7, TJ Keterman 7
Scorers: Gershfield 10, 12, 20, C. Ellis 37, Bern 50, Stock 60, Cole 70, B. Ellis 80
Sent off: Sacks
Big match stats
On target: 10
Off target: 2
On target: 6
Off target: 3