Author: Mitch Wynd
The Hockeyroos unleashed a dominant few minutes in the second quarter, maintaining third place on the FIH Pro League standings with a 4-2 win over Great Britain in London.
Two goals in the 18th minute from Madison Fitzpatrick and Brooke Peris, and another in the 23rd from Jane Claxton smashed the hosts’ confidence. However, Great Britain fought back in the second half to set up a thrilling finish.
The game started at a frenetic pace with Great Britain taking the early ascendency. The home team were awarded a penalty corner in the seventh minute when the ball looked to have struck a foot in the circle, an immediate Australian referral revealed it was in fact stick and the original decision was overturned.
A second referral in the ninth minute, this time from Great Britain with the replay showing the ball had in fact struck an attacking foot, leaving the home team with no referral for the remainder of the match.
Edwina Bone received a vicious ball to the face in the 11th minute, forcing her from the ground with blood visible from a cut below the eye. She returned to the field after treatment and played out the remainder of the match.
After a goalless first quarter, Australia came out firing in the second - blasting two goals in less than a minute to flip the match on its head.
The first goal came via a penalty corner that was coolly handled by Madison Fitzpatrick, launching an unstoppable drag flick past the keeper. Fourteen seconds later following a turnover in midfield, Brooke Peris drove forward and while sliding, cleverly chipped the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper.
The double strike looked to have rattled the home team, and before long, Jane Claxton added a third goal in the 23rd minute following a deflection from a Great Britain stick.
The goals didn’t stop after half time, with Mariah Williams able to put through a sweetly-struck reverse shot in the 37th minute to make it 4-0.
Great Britain won a penalty corner in the 43rd minute, and while Jocelyn Bartram made the initial save, the ball unfortunately landed in the direct path of Hollie Pearne-Webb who buried the chance.
With a late goal before three-quarter time, Great Britain hoped to take momentum into the final quarter and attempt a remarkable comeback. They won four penalty corners in the final term and made the most of one of them, with Tessa Howard firing in a rebound goal at the 53rd minute mark.
The British goalkeeper was pulled with six minutes to go in an attempt to take advantage of the extra field player. A yellow card to Mariah Williams meant the Hockeyroos were down to ten for the final five minutes which led to some tense moments but the team responded to the challenge in defence. Rachael Lynch stepped up in the final minutes with crucial saves to ensure Australia left London with the full three points.
The Hockeyroos’ next match is on Sunday night against fourth-placed Germany in Krefeld.
Australia 4 (M Fitzpatrick 18’, B Peris 18’, J Claxton 23’, M Williams 37’)
Great Britain 2 (Pearne-Webb 43’, Howard 53’)