Late Hockeyroos goal means women draw for second night in a row
The Vantage Black Sticks Women and the Hockeyroos have drawn for the second night in a row in the Sentinel Homes Trans-Tasman series in Palmerston North tonight.
In front of a near capacity crowd at the new Massey University turf, the Australian women finished strongly to grab the equaliser 2-2 and leave the series all locked up.
Meanwhile the Kookaburras men have collected their second win of the series with a convincing 3-0 victory against an under-strength Black Sticks side.
The late women’s match went right to the wire with Hockeyroo Mariah Williams scoring the equaliser with just five minutes left on the clock, with the Australians then threatening to grab the winner.
While disappointed to give away a 2-0 lead, Vantage Black Sticks Women’s Head Coach Graham Shaw was more disappointed with the overall performance.
“We didn’t hit our straps today with a lot of technical errors. We dwelled on the ball which allowed Australian to play that high pressing game and gave them a lot of energy.”
The Vantage Black Sticks Women went ahead in the first quarter with Kelsey Smith cleverly controlling a bobbling ball in front of goal.
The Hockeyroos, wearing their orange, black and yellow strip tonight to acknowledge National Reconciliation Week in Australia, probably had the better of the first half but couldn’t convert any of their chances.
Midway through the third quarter, the Black Sticks extended their lead through a Stephanie Dickins drag flick in her old hunting ground of the Manawatu.
But the Hockeyroos replied straight away with the goal of the game from Stephanie Kershaw, who gave herself space in the circle and then fired away a cracking goal.
And with five minutes left and the home crowd hoping for the first Black Sticks victory of the series, Williams squared the match up at 2-2.
Shaw said he was delighted with Dickins’ penalty corner goal – only her second for her country.
“Steph’s been working really hard on her flicking aspect of her game. We know she can be a threat there with a powerful flick. I’m delighted for her that she able to put one away.”
Vantage Black Sticks 2 (Kelsey Smith 11 min, Stephanie Dickins 35 min) Hockeyroos 2 (Stephanie Kershaw 38 min, Mariah Williams 55 min) Halftime: 1-0 Black Sticks
In the earlier men’s clash, it was a tough night for the home side without the experienced trio of captain Blair Tarrant (eye injury from yesterday’s opening match), vice-captain Hugo Inglis (rested) and Nick Ross (leg injury, replaced by Aidan Sarikaya for the series).
And the injury list was instantly added to with stand-in skipper Nic Woods facing a similar fate as Tarrant yesterday with a shot to the face that he didn’t return from.
The Kookaburras opened the scoring in the 12th minute with Nathan Ephraums collecting his first goal for his country after a scramble in the circle. Blake Govers, in his 100th match, made it 2-0 early in the second quarter with a well-taken drag flick penalty corner.
Black Sticks goalkeeper Leon Hayward made a brilliant save from another Govers drag flick to keep the score at 2-0 at three quarter time.
But Hayward’s brother and Kooaburras defender Jeremy got one over his brother with the third goal – another well taken drag flick penalty corner to put the result beyond doubt.
Kookaburras 3 (Nathan Ephraums 12 min, Blake Govers 18 min, Jeremy Hayward 52 min) Vantage Black Sticks 0 Halftime: 2-0 Kookaburras
The third matches in the series are on Sunday at 1pm for the women and 3pm for the men.
- May 28th, 2021 in