Late Griffiths strike sees GB's men draw with New Zealand

NZ v GB Men's Game 1 FIHPL20
New Zealand 1 (0)
Jenness (43’, FG)

Great Britain 1 (0)
Griffiths (56’, FG)

NZ win shootout 3-1

A late equaliser from Chris Griffiths earned Great Britain’s men their second point in the 2020 FIH Hockey Pro League season.

The forward struck with just four minutes remaining after Stephen Jenness had put the hosts ahead with a fine reverse finish late in the third quarter.

Richard Joyce was inspired form for the hosts, making several crucial saves and denying Griffiths what looked to be a certain a winner in the 57th minute.

He then shone in the shootout too as New Zealand won 3-1 to take the bonus point.

Playing in their changed strip of white shirt & blue shorts, GB’s men started on the front foot as Rupert Shipperley saw an effort saved in the first minute before Will Calnan was thwarted by Joyce shortly after.

The hosts had their chances too, with George Pinner standing tall to save from point blank range early in the first quarter, while Mark Gleghorne had two corners saved.

The second quarter was more circumspect, with Tom Sorsby seeing one effort blocked before Liam Ansell hit the post in the dying moments of the half.

Sorsby then had another effort saved early in the third quarter while at the other end Pinner was called into action again from close range.

There was nothing he could do to prevent the Black Sticks from taking the lead in the 43rd minute though as Jenness powered a shot into the top corner.

Great Britain pressed hard to find the equaliser in the final quarter and it eventually came as Griffiths reacted well to turn a deflected effort past Joyce.

The East Grinstead forward was unlucky not to add a second a minute later as Joyce pulled off a fine reaction save as GB ended the game on top but could not find the winner, with Jackson also thwarted.

Will Calnan got Great Britain off to the perfect start in the shootout but Joyce was on hand to ensure it was the hosts who claimed the bonus point.

After the game, Griffiths said: “It’s another point in the bag but there were slight frustations at times throughout the game. We needed to possibly take more care of the ball in the final third but otherwise I thought it was a good performance.

“We’re a bit down because of the outcome as we felt like we dominated the game in patches. But I think that shows where we are as a group – we want to go out and win games and we don’t want to disappoint ourselves. I think that can only be a good thing.”

Head coach Danny Kerry added: “We’re disappointed we didn’t get the win. We were soft on the ball in the important times and moments. I can’t take away from the lads they went for it and credit to them for coming back from 1-0 down. But even before then we had plenty of opportunities to win the game.

Starting XI: Pinner (GK), Ames, Shipperley, Griffiths, Gleghorne, Roper, Dixon (C), Jackson, Ansell, Sanford, Wallace
Subs (Used): Sloan, Waller, Gall, Sorsby, Calnan, Draper
Subs (Unused): Taylor, Forsyth, Martin, Gibson (GK)

FIH Pro League 2020

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