Nelson’s equaliser helps Australia secure draw
Ashleigh Nelson’s equalising goal in the 54th minute of the match, coupled with Great Britain’s missed penalty corner opportunity late on, helped Australia come back from behind to secure a 3-3 draw on the final siren in the third match of the series.
Australia came from behind on three occasions, Gabrielle Nance, Karri McMahon and Nelson pegging back goals from Crista Cullen, Ellie Watton and Helen Richardson-Walsh.
Frustrated with the final result, Hockeyroos Head Coach Adam Commens said, “I thought we played well for a new group with the team showcasing seven new players. We combined well to create numerous attacks with Great Britain defending doggedly, however, unfortunately we only ended up with a draw rather than a win.”
It was an exciting milestone match for young Victorian Madi Ratcliffe, who made her senior international debut in the Hockeyroos’ bodysuit. Commens officially presented Ratcliffe with her green and gold kit during a team briefing prior to the match.
Speaking about Madi Ratcliffe’s international debut, Commens added, “Madi ran really hard tonight and she didn’t look out of place in terms of her defensive intensity. There were some moments where she was a little lost on where to lead, however, that will come with more time on the pitch. She had some great touches in the circle, which ultimately lead to us scoring one of our goals tonight.”
Awarded the first penalty corner opportunity seven minutes into the match, Great Britain’s Crista Cullen sent an on-target drag flick past Australian goalkeeper Rachael Lynch and into the back of the net, setting the visitors up with an early 1-0 lead.
Following one minute later, Australia quickly responded to Great Britain’s opening goal. Picking up the rebound off the pads of the Great Britain goalkeeper Kirsty Mackay, Gabrielle Nance swept the ball into the backboard of goals, levelling the match 1-1.
Ellie Watton’s strike from the top of the circle, one minute after the halftime break, was all it took to push Great Britain in front with a 2-1 lead.
It was at the 37th minute mark, when Victorian Laura Barden earned Australia a much needed penalty stroke after going one-on-one with Great Britain’s keeper. Stepping up to the spot, Karri McMahon coolly slotted the ball home, equalising the match for the second time, 2-2.
Defender Karri McMahon was welcomed back into the squad after rehabbing a stress fracture in her pelvis, which kept her out of the recent TPG Singapore series and the first two matches of the Great Britain series in Bunbury.
Helen Richardson-Walsh broke the 2-2 deadlock with Australia in the 47th minute, after her quick deflection slid past Lynch who was under the bar for Australia.
Six minutes before the final siren, Western Australia’s representative Ashleigh Nelson showcased world class skill to overcome Great Britain’s defence. Slotting the ball into the net, Nelson secured the equaliser, resulting in the Hockeyroos securing a final 3-3 draw to keep the series levelled.
Milestones were also made by Great Britain’s captain Kate Richardson-Walsh, who has equalled Karen Brown’s all time playing record of 355 matches. Alike Australian captain Madonna Blyth, Richardson-Walsh will be named Great Britain’s highest capped female player on 356 matches if she is named in the line-up for the fourth match of the series Thursday night. Forward Ellie Watton also made her 50th appearance.
The Hockeyroos’ fourth match of the series will be played on Thursday at 6pm AWST at the Perth Hockey Stadium.
News Source: Hockey Australia
Match Details – Game Three:
HOCKEYROOS – 3 (1)
Gabrielle Nance 8 (FG), Karri McMahon 37 (PS), Ashleigh Nelson 54 (FG)
GREAT BRITAIN – 3 (1)
Crista Cullen 7 (PC), Ellie Watton 31 (FG), Helen Richardson-Walsh 47 (FG)