Visa International Invitational Hockey Tournament

2nd May 2012

Australia(3) 3 : 0 (0) India
Team Match Report
Great Britain(0) 1 : 3 (0) Germany
Team Match Report

3rd May 2012

Germany(2) 3 : 2 (1) Australia
Team Match Report
Great Britain(4) 4 : 2 (1) India
Team Match Report

5th May 2012

Germany(1) 2 : 1 (1) India
Team Match Report
Australia(2) 3 : 3 (2) Great Britain
Team Match Report

Match Report

James Tindall 19 (PC)           Matt Ghodes 26 (F)
Richard Alexander 30 (PC)           Jason Wilson 35 (F)
Ashley Jackson 66 (PC)           Simon Orchard 52 (PS)

An entertaining 3-3 draw with World Champions Australia was not quite enough to secure Great Britain a place in Sunday’s final at the Visa International Invitational Tournament in London.  In what was their 500th competitive international match, Great Britain’s men required victory over the world’s number one side to set up a tie with Germany but the draw means GB will face India in Sunday’s bronze medal playoff at the Olympic Test Event, missing out on goal difference to the Australians.

James Tindall celebrates scoring for Great Britain against AustraliaSurbiton’s James Tindall gave the 12,000 strong British crowd something to cheer about with a low penalty corner flick midway through the first half but Australia equalised shortly afterwards through Matt Ghodes.  Tindall’s Surbiton teammate Richard Alexander put the Brits back in front when he rifled home a penalty corner on the half hour but Australia hit GB with a sucker punch on the stroke of half time; Jason Wilson scoring from close range after Great Britain failed to clear the danger.

The Australians enjoyed much the better of the second half, winning six penalty corners, but Britain’s goalkeeper James Fair showcased his credentials with a string of top drawer saves.  The Cannock goalkeeper could do little about the visitors’ third goal, which came from the penalty spot courtesy of Simon Orchard after a goal-bound shot hit Tindall’s foot on the line.

Great Britain found it difficult to fashion clear cut opportunities against a well organised Australian side but when goalkeeper Nathan Burgers kicked the ball up into Iain Mackay’s face Ashley Jackson fired the resulting penalty corner high into the top right corner.  The goal gave GB faint hope of snatching a late victory but it wasn’t to be.

Afterwards, Great Britain Head Coach Jason Lee said, “I don't think we played that well today and quite below our abilities. If you score 100% of the corners you win [which Great Britain did] then you've got a good chance of getting a medal in any tournament, on the flipside of that if you concede 100% then you will struggle too.

“I think parts of our play were encouraging at certain points but also quite irritating at times as well.  There's some work to be done between now and the Olympics in terms of our approach.”

Ashley Jackson celebrates scoring a goal for Great Britain

Australia began the match the stronger.  Great Britain’s Richard Smith suffered an early blow as he went off to receive treatment after taking a ball to his face although he returned ten minutes later.  Australia’s Eddie Ockenden and Glenn Simpson both came close in the opening stages with Simpson narrowly failing to connect with a pass when just two metres out from goal.

Captain Glenn Kirkham fashioned Great Britain’s first real opportunity, winning the corner that Tindall flicked low into the goal for his 20th goal in British colours.

Australia’s equalizer came from the stick of Matt Ghodes, who fired low past James Fair after picking up a pass inside the left of the British circle.  But no sooner had Australia leveled than Great Britain were back in front, much to the delight of the home support.  From a surging break by East Grinstead’s Ashley Jackson and Surbiton’s Alexander, Great Britain won a second penalty corner.  Things looked to have gone awry at the top of the circle before Jackson picked out Alexander and the 30 year old hit his shot low, hard and true into the bottom corner for 2-1.

There was to be disappointment for GB just before the break when they failed to clear the defensive lines and Jason Wilson knocked home to make it 2-2. 

Goalkeeper James Fair was to come to the fore in the second period as he battled to prevent Australia from taking the lead.  A good reflex save a minute into the half was followed by a smart low save with his left glove from a penalty corner and another excellent save from close range.  Fair though could do little about Simon Orchard’s penalty stroke in the 52nd minute.  The 25 year old stepped up and coolly fired his shot millimeters under the crossbar and into the roof of the goal to put the Kookaburras ahead for the first time. 

James Fair in action against Australia - Olympic Test Event 450 x 259

As the match entered its final ten minutes Great Britain worked hard to create the chances they needed.  A quick break away found Reading’s Jonty Clarke in space deep inside the Australian half.  Without support Clarke did well to fashion a shot on his reverse but the effort was cleared as teammates raced to support.  With four minutes remaining Iain Mackay, who sat out Thursday’s game against India with an injury, found himself in the wars once again as he took a clearance from goalkeeper Nathan Burgers to the face.  From the resulting penalty corner, Ashley Jackson fired home a trademark effort high into the top right corner.  The goal gave Great Britain faint hope of a comeback but the men in red could not generate another opportunity and the match finished 3-3.

The result means that Great Britain will face India in the third place playoff at 15:45 on Sunday afternoon, a match that will shown live on the BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website.  Australia progress to face Germany in the final at 18:30.  That match will also be shown on the BBC.

Captain Glenn Kirkham said afterward, “Every time we play against Australia we have to match their intensity, which I think we did in the first half but struggled at parts in the second half.  I think we showed good character to come back towards the end of the game and to come off the pitch with a draw against the best team in the world is a positive result.”

Standings at end of day three

Pl W D L GF GA Pts
Germany 3 3 0 0 8 4 9
Australia 3 1 1 1 8 6 4
Great Britain  3 1 1 1 8 8 4
India 3 0 0 3 3 9 0

6th May 2012

15:45 3rd Place
Great Britain(1) 2 : 1 (1) India
Team Match Report
18:30 Final
Germany() 5 : 2 () Australia
Team Match Report
Site by nemisys

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