Great Britain edge out Australia in Sultan of Johor thriller

Great Britain U21 2017 Sultan of Johor Cup v Australia
Great Britain (1) 4
Park (25, FG), Mackenzie (41, FG), Way (43, PC), Scott (57, PC)

Australia (2) 2

Busiko (26, FG), Ephraums (28, FG)

Great Britain showed superb resilience to come from behind and claim an impressive win against defending Sultan of Johor champions Australia.

Eddie Way’s stunning penalty corner drag flick capped a dramatic third quarter comeback after The Burras had led 2-1 at half-time courtesy of Lachlan Busiko and Nathan Ephraums, before Duncan Scott sealed the win with just three minutes before the final whistle.

Nick Park had opened the scoring for Great Britain, before Scotland’s Callum Mackenze equalised to make 2-2 shortly after half-time.

The win almost almost guarantees a top two finish needed for Jon Bleby’s side to qualify for Sunday’s final, although they still have two group fixtures against Japan and India before then.

This was one of the most anticipated ties in the tournament with both sides having won each of their opening games, although it was Australia who were heading the table courtesy of scoring 23 goals in the process.

It was they who started the game in dominant fashion as well with Isaac Farmilo and Jacob Anderson unleashing fierce shots at Chris Wyver’s goal but both failed to keep them below the crossbar.

Great Britain grew into the game and took a deserved lead in the 25th minute as Park deflected the ball into the net after Surbiton’s Zach Wallace made a mazy run down the right baseline.

However just seconds after the restart the 2015 champions were down to ten men as Timothy Nurse was given a green card, the fifth awarded in that quarter alone. 

Australia then took full advantage, scoring two goals in two minutes through Busiko and Ephraums, the latter’s seventh goal of the tournament.

While Britain started the third quarter looking the strongest, it was Australia who nearly extended their lead through Liam Flynn, only for Jack Waller to superbly stop his effort on the line.

Waller then provided the catalyst for Britain’s equalizer, his long ball eventually falling to Mackenzie who scored his second goal in as many games in the 41st minute.

Two minutes later Britain then re-took the lead as Way unleashed an unstoppable strike beyond Australian goalkeeper Matthew Finn before Scott wrapped up the victory with his fifth goal of the tournament three minutes from time.

After the game Bleby said he was delighted with the performance against Australia and was impressed by how much they have already improved since the tournament began.

“We are really happy with the diligent and attack-minded performance the squad put in today,” he said.

“They have taken a significant amount of information on board over the last few days and delivered today against Australia.

“To have three wins from three with this young group is very pleasing but we now have to refocus for the Japan game tomorrow.”

You can watch that game against the Japanese from 13:35 BST tomorrow here.

To find out which players are taking part in the year’s Sultan of Johor Cup click here.