Shootout bonus point for GB's women from final match in New Zealand

New Zealand v GB Shootout Win 2020FIHPL
New Zealand 2 (1)
Shannon (28’, FG; 53’, PC)

Great Britain 2 (0)
Toman (38’, PC); Balsdon (41’, PC)

GB win shootout 5-4

Great Britain’s women picked up two more points in the 2020 FIH Hockey Pro League after securing a shootout victory over New Zealand.

Having convincingly won 3-0 the day before, this time the side were held in normal time as two goals from Olivia Shannon cancelled out fine flicks from Anna Toman and Grace Balsdon.

Sarah Jones thought she’d scored the winner in the final minute of the game but it was overturned on review, taking the game to a shootout. Tess Howard then starred, scoring GB’s first attempt while also sealing the win in sudden death after Sabbie Heesh had saved from Stacey Michelsen.

The result means that the women picked up five points from a possible six in Auckland, while Shona McCallin also made her 50th appearance for Great Britain during the game.

Both Heesh and her opposite number Georgia Barnett were called into action in the opening stages to prevent their opponents from opening the scoring, while Lily Owsley did well to charge down a corner.

Great Britain ramped up the pressure in the second quarter but couldn’t find a way through the Black Sticks defence before they raced up the other end in the 28th minute as Shannon smashed the ball past Heesh to give her side the lead.

Susannah Townsend almost equalised a minute later but somehow Barnett flung herself across the goal to stop her shot from close range.

New Zealand looked to have doubled their lead early in the third quarter as Kaitlin Cotter forced the ball beyond Heesh but she was adjudged to have done so illegally.

Shortly after Toman made them pay as she fired in her fourth goal in seven international matches to level the scores.

Balsdon then produced one of those corners she’s becoming known for as she rocketed the ball into the top corner, giving Barnett no chance to complete the turnaround.

With seven minutes remaining the Black Sticks hit back however as Shannon was on hand to turn home a rebound after a corner was initially well blocked by Laura Unsworth.
As the game entered its final minute, Jones was on hand to turn the ball into the goal for what she thought was the winner after great build up play from Charlotte Watson.

However New Zealand reviewed immediately and the goal was disallowed having been deemed to have touch the back of the striker’s stick in the build up.

GB then led 4-2 in the shootout thanks to Howard, Owsley, Hannah Martin and Sarah Robertson before New Zealand clawed it back to 4-4 and take it to sudden death.

Heesh stood tall to deny Michelsen with the Black Sticks’ first attempt before Howard stepped up once again to slot the ball into the goal and grab the bonus point.

Speaking after the game, Toman said: “We’re happy to get those two points with the bonus in the shootout. However we are a bit disappointed to not get all three. We dropped intensity a little bit in the first half compared to yesterday, which is something to learn from as we will have back-to-back games again.

“I wouldn’t say I’m becoming a goal machine but it is nice to be able to step up and get a few goals – as a defender it doesn’t happen that often and it didn’t happen at all for me earlier in my career.

“This weekend has given us heaps of confidence. We aimed to get 50% of points from this trip so we’re a little bit down on that but it’s been an incredible tour, we’ve improved leaps and bounds as a team. We’ve started to create a new identity as a team as well so we need to carry that forward. I’m really excited for what’s to come.”

Great Britain's women are next in action against The Netherlands on 28-29 April.

Starting XI: Unsworth, Toman, Martin, Townsend, Robertson, Rayer, Pearne-Webb (C), McCallin, Heesh (GK), Owsley, Balsdon
Subs (Used): Howard, Jones, Neal, Hunter, Watson, Wilkinson
Subs (Unused): Hinch (GK), Burge, Petter

FIH Pro League 2020

The general sale for the 2020 FIH Hockey Pro League matches in London opens on 20 February. Find out more by clicking here.