Kookaburras draw with Great Britain
Monday August 6, 2012
Host nation Great Britain mounted an extraordinary comeback in front of its home crowd to salvage a 3-all draw against the Kookaburras at Riverbank Arena in London today.
Australia flew out of the blocks like Usain Bolt in the opening minutes when Victorian striker Russell Ford sent home two goals in five minutes.
The first came from a brilliant run along the baseline edging the ball past Great Britain’s keeper James Fair and the second resulted from a great ball into the circle from Tim Deavin.
The Kookaburras dominated the first 10 minutes before the Brits started to work themselves into the game and despite trailing 2-0 it wasn’t indicative of the competitive contest unfolding.
Australia started well in the second and Co-Captain Mark Knowles fired home a superb shot from the top of the circle to take his outfit to a 3-0 lead.
Great Britain refused to give in however and its high-tempo style of play continued to threaten with Ashley Jackson and James Tindall looking dangerous.
The host nation was rewarded when Jonty Clarke ran the ball along the baseline and his pass deflected off an Australian defender into goal.
The conversion lifted the crowd, which spurred the home country on and Great Britain began to win most of the 50/50 contests.
Great Britain’s persistent attacks resulted in a penalty corner and Ashley Jackson’s first drag flick was well saved by Nathan Burgers but a second short was called.
This time Captain Barry Middleton made no mistake making a brilliant diving deflection off a strike from the top of the circle and his team was back in the match.
Australia saw a chance to consolidate go begging, when after earning a penalty corner they failed to convert when Great Britain was left with just four defenders in the battery after one of the runners broke.
The pressure then reverted back to the Australians and with four minutes to go James Tindall found the corner to equalise at three-all but the crowd waited with baited breath as Nathan Burgers called for the video referral.
It looked to Australia that a Great Britain striker had obstructed Burger’s ability to play the ball but the video umpire rejected the appeal and the goal stood.
Australian coach Ric Charlesworth would not be impressed with his troops squandering a 3-0 lead with 23 minutes to go in the match.
Australia can still finish on top of Pool A if it secures a win against Pakistan in tomorrow’s match LIVE at 5:20pm (AEST)
Australia 3 (Russell Ford FG 7m, FG 11m; Mark Knowles FG 41m) Great Britain 3 (Jonty Clarke FG 47m, Barry Middleton PC 52m, James Tindall FG 66m)
Best Players - Australia: Eddie Ockenden, Russell Ford, Fergus Kavanagh. Great Britain: Ashley Jackson, James Tindall, James Fair.
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