Great Britain downed by clinical Kookaburras

Nick Catlin in action for Great Britain 480 x 290

Great Britain 1 (0)
Nick Catlin 36 (FG)

Australia 3 (1)
Blake Govers 28 (PC)
Daniel Beale 38 (FG)
Jacob Whetton 51 (FG)

A devastating display of clinical finishing from Australia sent the Kookaburras into Sunday’s final after a 3-1 win over Great Britain. Despite a splendid strike from Nick Catlin in the 36th minute and a resolute display from Bobby Crutchley’s team, Australia took their chances with goals from Blake Govers, Daniel Beale and Jacob Whetton handing them the win. As a result Great Britain will face India in the 3rd/4th playoff on Sunday.

Great Britain threatened the Australian goal early on. After a good period of possession, David Ames forced his way along the backline but David Condon couldn’t quite apply the finish to turn in the cross at the back post.

At the other end a pass into the GB circle came back off the post and allowed Jamie Dwyer a sight of goal which was quickly snuffed out by some excellent goalkeeping from George Pinner. The game became a fast, physical battle with the two teams fighting hard for control of the midfield but as a result chances were scarce and it was 0-0 at the end of the first quarter.

At the start of the second quarter, Barry Middleton’s superb pass from the half way line cut through the defence and almost found Sam Ward. The No13 dived at full length but was just unable to get the touch.

With five minutes left in the half Great Britain were indebted to the woodwork to keep the score level. A searing strike from Fergus Kavanagh cannoned off the angle of post and bar and away to safety. However two minutes later Australia forced their first penalty corner. With the Govers brothers lining up at the top of the circle the threat was clear. It was the younger of the two, Blake Govers who fired the ball into the bottom corner to Pinner’s right to make it 1-0, his seventh goal of the tournament. There was time for the Kookaburras to win another penalty corner before the break. Blake Govers took the honours again but his effort flew wide of the post and it stayed 1-0 at the interval.

The first chance of the second half fell to Australia. Dwyer seized on a loose ball in the circle only for Pinner to make a superb save with his glove. With nine minutes left in the quarter GB drew level. Catlin rounded Matthew Swann and found the bottom corner with a bullet finish to the delight of the small pocket of Great Britain fans inside the stadium.

Parity lasted a matter of minutes. A defensive slip by Bobby Crutchley’s side gifted the Kookaburras a chance and Jacob Whetton set up Daniel Beale who hit the net to make it 2-1. Great Britain thought they had won a penalty corner via a video referral but the appeal was turned down and it they trailed heading into the final quarter.

As the game entered the final ten minutes the Kookaburras extended their advantage. Dwyer’s cross was turned in expertly by Whetton from close range to make it 3-1. A deflection from Eddie Ockenden rattled the post and then Pinner did well to get down and repel a penalty corner from Kieran Govers. The score stayed 3-1 meaning Australia will play in Sunday’s final whilst Great Britain will play India for third place.

Quotes – Great Britain Defender Dan Fox

“It was disappointing because we controlled possession well in the first quarter but after that we weren’t good enough on the ball. We made a couple of errors which will always make it difficult against the best team in the world. The game gave us a funny situation really. We’re delighted to have secured Olympic qualification in the last game, but this group wants to get to finals so we’re very disappointed to miss out tonight.

Against a high pressing side like Australia errors will always be punished. We’re aware of that though and we spend enough time working on how to combat those threats. As you saw, sides like them seize on the smallest mistakes and that was the difference today.

We’re looking forward to the India match. It’s not the game we wanted to be in, but they’re a good side so it’ll be a test for us. All these games are big games and there’s pressure on both sides. We want to come third rather than fourth and end the tournament on a high.”

Great Britain Head Coach – Bobby Crutchley

“We started the game well which you have to do against them because they always come at you at 100 miles an hour. We defended well for the most part but the second and third goals were sloppy which is frustrating when we’d worked so hard to get back level. Overall we didn’t create enough and that’s something we need to get better at. We need to be more of a threat going forwards to win against sides like them.

We’re really pleased with the development of some of our players but we want to compete with sides like Australia and be up there with the best. We are aiming to get better and better to give ourselves a chance in Rio. We want to start to win more games, to get on more podiums and to push even further.”

You can see Bobby Crutchley's side in action as England this summer as the Unibet EuroHockey Championships 2015 comes to the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. Visit www.Eurohockey2015.co.uk for all the details.