ELLIE Watton believes England's women's hockey team are making strides in the direction of a Commonwealth Games medal despite suffering defeat to defending champions Australia.
Gold medallists at the last two Games, Australia lived up to their reputation as favourites at Glasgow 2014 as two Jodie Kenny strikes and one from Emily Smith gave them a 3-0 win.
England began brightly as Susannah Townsend found Watton after a mazy run but her effort was well blocked by Australian keeper Rachael Lynch.
But two quick scores had England on the back foot as first Kenny converted from a penalty corner on 17 minutes, before Smith capitalised on a mistake from captain Kate Richardson-Walsh shortly afterwards.
A green card for Laura Unsworth then proved costly 13 minutes into the second half, as shortly after she left the field, Kenny completed the scoring from another penalty corner.
Defeat leaves England needing to beat host nation Scotland in their final Pool B game tomorrow to ensure their passage into the last four but Watton insisted defeat to Australia was still their best performance of the Games so far.
"We are obviously gutted to lose but we are actually very happy with how we played," said Watton, the former Repton School pupil.
"We think we are still building momentum going into our final group game against Scotland, which now is obviously a very big game.
"We passed the ball around well, created some chances and unfortunately made a few mistakes which led to their goals.
"Their penalty corner threat is obviously really impressive but we need to stop giving them chances like that, stop making the silly errors.
"It is going to be a tough fight against Scotland, they will certainly be up for that fight but so will we and we will be ready."
England were bronze medallists four years ago at Delhi 2010, with several of the current squad having such an experience to call upon this time at Glasgow 2014.
And Watton, playing in her first Commonwealth Games, is confident the team are playing well enough to make sure they will be contesting for a medal.
"It is always about making it through the pool stage and I think we are really confident we can do that," she said.
"We have been building momentum the whole tournament and although this game wasn't a win we are taking steps in the right direction."
Commonwealth Games England (CGE) leads and manages the participation of the Team England at the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Youth Games. We work with sports, Sponsors and Sport England to support the development of athletes and their sports, and to achieve success at Games-time.