SOUTH AFRICA 4 (Marvin Harper 10, 53, Lloyd Norris-Jones 25, Thornton McDade 67)

ENGLAND 6 (Richard Mantell 14, 57, Rob Moore 23, Ashley Jackson 43, Nick Catlin 50, Iain Mackay 51)

The five-and-a-half-hour time difference between Long Ditton and Delhi meant that Surbiton Hockey Club supporters were able to gather at their club bar in Long Ditton – among other more work-convenient venues – on Tuesday at 11.05am to watch four of their players – Richard Alexander, Ben Hawes, Rob Moore and James Tindall help world sixth-ranked England build on its shock 3-2 opening World Cup pool B victory on Sunday over pre-tournament favourites Australia.

This time they witnessed a more expected win against a South Africa team ranked 13th in the world and coached by former Surbiton player Gregg Clark, in what was the 500th match to be played in the history of the hockey World Cup.

But the final margin was closer than forecast. A double from Richard Mantell sandwiched strikes from Moore, Ashley Jackson, Nick Catlin and Iain Mackay as England recovered from an early setback to win 6-4.

In a change from Sunday’s squad, England head coach Jason Lee brought Hampstead & Westminster defender Dan Fox (who plays his indoor hockey for Surbiton) on to the bench, with Reading forward Jonty Clarke resting a tight hamstring in the stand alongside reserve goalkeeper and club teammate Nick Brothers.

England were clearly keen to start in a more attacking manner than against Australia on Sunday but two early circle entries came to nothing before Surbiton forward James Tindall received an early green card and a two-minute suspension.

Goalkeeper James Fair, the hero for England on the opening day, was called on in the seventh minute as he came off his post to narrow the angle with Thornton McDade pulling the trigger. Three minutes later, Fair could do nothing to stop Marvin Harper from opening the scoring from close range after good work by Justin Reid-Ross along the baseline.

As against Australia on Sunday, England immediately rallied from their set-back. Bowdon’s Alastair Brogdon looked to have been crowded out inside the South African circle but his cutback found its way to Glenn Kirkham and the East Grinstead man’s shot found the foot of a defender.

Before Kirkham could pull the corner in from the baseline, South African Lloyd Norris-Jones broke the line and was sent to the halfway line by the umpire.

Facing a now depleted South African penalty corner defence Mantell executed a well-placed low drag flick into the bottom right corner, which hit the backboard via the stick of Lloyd Madsen on the post for 1-1.

In the 20th minute South Africa were reduced to 10 men with the temporary suspension of Wade Paton, although the green card should have been shown to his teammate Paul Blake.

England were beginning to assert their control on play and in the 23rd minute Surbiton’s 28-year-old midfield forward Moore robbed South African captain Austin Smith in the middle of the pitch. Bursting forward at pace, Moore entered the circle and fired a blistering shot through the legs of Erasmus Pietersen in goal to give England the lead.

It was the 15th England goal of Moore’s international career of 115 games starting in February 2003.

No sooner had England gone ahead than South Africa responded, albeit with some good fortune favouring the attacking endeavour of Norris-Jones. Playing the ball across the face of goal from inside the right of the England circle, the former Canterbury player’s cross was nowhere near a South African colleague but a defensive error gave South Africa an equaliser. In attempting to stop the ball Mantell deflected it under the body of his goalkeeper Fair and into the goal; 2-2 with 25 minutes played.

The goal seemed to boost the Africans’ confidence and Fair soon had to save on his post from the reverse stick effort of Julian Hykes, who was looking to add to his goal against Spain on the opening day.

South Africa had been level at 2-2 with Spain at half-time in their opening match on Sunday before going down 4-2 and they began the second period intent on preventing a repeat. Within a minute of the half beginning, Julian Hykes had South Africa’s first sight of goal, but under pressure from Surbiton’s Alexander he squeezed his shot wide of Fair’s right post.

There then followed a period of patient possession play before England re-took the lead in the 43rd minute. Good work in the midfield from Fox, playing in his first World Cup match, saw him find captain Barry Middleton on the left of the circle. Middleton drove around Lloyd Madsen before cutting back to the diving Fox on the near post. Fox’s effort was heading towards the far post where Jackson was on hand to knock home from a metre out to make sure. Two well-worked goals in as many minutes then looked to have put England beyond reach. In the 50th minute Nick Catlin deflected Alexander’s hard pass onto the target but Pietersen pulled off a good reaction save. Not to be thwarted, the 20-year-old Loughborough Students’ player followed up to add a World Cup goal to the one he scored against Korea at December’s Champions Trophy.

And a minute later Catlin was involved again as England stretched the lead to 5-2. Breaking with Alexander and Iain Mackay in a three-on-one, Catlin drew the goalkeeper before sliding the ball right to the diving Mackay to knock the home for his fifth England goal.

On 53 minutes a good piece of skill from Marvin Harper at the other end of the pitch pulled one back for South Africa as he dived to connect mid-air at the back post, meeting a cross from the South African right for 5-3.

With South Africa trying to force a comeback, Mantell restored England’s three-goal cushion with his second of the match and his 45th goal for England in 90 appearances.

Given another opportunity from a penalty corner Mantell flicked home just above the backboard between the goalkeeper and the man on the post.

With Mantell having taken England’s penalty corners, Ashley Jackson, who plays for HGC in Holland, had his first set piece sight on goal with just over an hour played. Erasmus Pietersen was equal to it though and kept the flick out with a gloved saved above his right shoulder. There then followed a delay while South African defender Justin Reid-Ross was treated for an injury sustained in a collision with Jackson after the youngster’s effort.

Entering the final period, England upped the ante with Jackson breaking through the top of the circle and forcing another save from Pietersen. With five minutes remaining, Tindall won England another penalty corner after a failed South African referral to the video umpire.

Mantell’s shot was on target but comfortably kept out by the goalkeeper, who proceeded to clear dangerously and concede another corner. Jackson’s effort next up flew with pace but wide of the left upright.

At the other end, South Africa countered and forced another goal to take them to within two of England with just three minutes remaining. Austin Smith’s pass to the middle of the goal was met by Fair’s stick but he could not prevent Thornton McDade’s follow up and after an appeal to the video umpire the goal stood.

With two minutes remaining Loughborough Students’ Richard Smith received a yellow-card suspension for a foul in the 23m area and from the next move South Africa were awarded a penalty corner. However, Gareth Carr, who plays for East Grinstead, failed to find the target and after the ball flew over Fair’s crossbar the clock ticked down on another England victory.

England’s six-goal haul was only the third time that they had scored six goals or more in a World Cup match, the others coming in a 7-0 defeat of Cuba in 2002 and a 6-1 victory over Ghana in 1975. It was England’s 17th win over South Africa in 36 meetings.

After the match, manager Andy Halliday admitted England were missing some of the defensive resolution they displayed against Australia, saying: “Overall, we’re a little disappointed with the performance but having said that there were some patches of good hockey played, especially early in the second half.

"The defensive strength that we displayed on Sunday wasn’t there today but it is two wins from two now so we’ve got to be pleased with that.”

Speaking about debutant Fox, only called up to the squad last Friday after Mantell’s brother Simon, who also plays for Reading, withdrew with a foot injury, Halliday said: “We’re pleased with Dan’s contribution today. "Ashley nicked a goal off him when Foxy thought he’d scored. "Four days ago he was expecting to be teaching year seven pupils about plate tectonics and now he nearly scores inside 30 seconds of coming on for his first game at the World Cup.”

The pool’s other two results went well for England with the first day’s other winners - Spain (ranked third in the world) by 4-2 over South Africa and India (12th) by 4-1 over Pakistan (seventh) - both losing – by 2-1 to Pakistan and 5-2 to Australia respectively - leaving England three points clear of all four teams and six of South Africa.

England’s remaining pool games are on Thursday against Pakistan, followed by India on Saturday and Spain on Monday with an excellent chance of ending up in the top two and making it through to the semi-finals next Thursday and finals on Saturday.

The countries in pool A, from whom the opposition will come on Thursday and Saturday, or, if England don’t finish in the top two in their pool, the 5th to 12th classification games on Thursday and Friday are: Germany (ranked 1st in the world), Netherlands (4th), Korea (5th), New Zealand (8th), Canada (11th) and Argentina (14th).

Local hockey supporters not out in India are able to follow the whole World Cup live and for free on the English Asian network Zing TV.

England squad v South Africa: James Fair (Cannock/GK); Ben Hawes (Surbiton); Richard Mantell (Reading); Richard Smith (Loughborough Students); Alistair Wilson (Beeston); Ashley Jackson (HGC); Glenn Kirkham (East Grinstead); Rob Moore (Surbiton); Iain Mackay (Reading); Barry Middleton (C) (HGC); James Tindall (Surbiton).

Rolling substitutes used: Richard Alexander (Surbiton); Alasdair Brogdon (Bowdon); Nick Catlin (Loughborough Students); Adam Dixon (Beeston); Dan Fox (Hampstead & Westminster).

Did not play: Nick Brothers (Reading/GK); Jonty Clarke (Reading).