New Zealand 1 vs. 1 Australia
8.00 pm push back
The late game today sees a clash of the Oceanic titans. In the fourth minute, it’s a short corner for New Zealand. Anita McLaren sends a drag flick to the keeper’s left, but Rachael Lynch gets a hand to the ball and bats it away. The Australians are coming forward a bit more often than their local cousins, but the Kiwi defence are holding strong, with their centre back Brooke Neal putting in a couple of decent tackles. New Zealand are coming back into it now, Stacey Michelson is acting as a conduit for a lot of the positive moves forward for her team.
In the thirteenth minute, the ball is played into New Zealand’s number 25, Kelsey Smith, who shoots, but has effort blocked by an on rushing Rachael Lynch. Olivia Merry pounces on the second phase and slots the ball past the prone Australian, who’s on the floor after saving the first shot; the Kiwi’s go ahead. At the end of the first quarter, New Zealand lead by one goal to nil, which puts them top of the group.
First minute of the second quarter, Kelsey Smith sends a long ball to Olivia Merry. She picks it up and drives into the circle, takes the shot, but Lynch saves it. The rebound goes over the bar. The Kiwi attacks are flowing forward, with some lovely combinations. With a little over two minutes gone, Australia’s Edwina Bone finds the ball on the right wing, centres it towards her captain, Emily Smith, who slides it past the Kiwi keeper. 1 – 1.
20 seconds later, we see an Australian short corner awarded. The first shot isn’t connected with properly and the Black Sticks see the ball away. The Hockeyroos get another in the fifth minute for a foot in the circle, but the decision is referred to the video umpire. The set piece is over turned and the Kiwi’s get a hit out instead. In the seventh minute Olivia Merry is shown a green card. This doesn’t stop the her team from going forward, though, and they win a short corner win the eight minute. In the play from this, it hits another foot in the circle meaning a second in quick succession and then a third. McLaren slips it behind her to Neal, who pushes it towards goal, but it goes behind for a hit out to Australia.
Twelve minutes have played in the second quarter. Michelson nicks the ball inside the Aussie half, plays it forward, to her team mate, who, with the ball going to Sam Harrison. Goal! Or is it. The Australians refer for a back stick. The video umpire has a look at it, and the goal is disallowed. The score remains at one goal apiece at half time.
We restart with some pace and within 25 seconds the Australians get a short corner. Jodie Kenny smashes the ball just wide of the right hand post. In the sixth minute, the Hockeyroos get another with a dangerous ball in the circle off a Kiwi stick. I’s fired in and cleared off the line. It looks like it’s off the line in real time, but the Aussie’s are calling for something. The replays show that its up into the facemask of the defender. The Aussies get to try again, but this time it’s a wasted attempt, going off the back line. In the 12th minute, Australia ask for a New Zealand foot and a short corner. After a short look back at the tape, it’s given. It goes out to Jodie Kenny, who slips it left square, but the resulting slap shot is deflected wide.
Michelson is now having everything going through her, almost single handedly moving the Kiwis forward, taking on almost the entire Aussie team.
At the start of the third quarter, the Kiwi’s turn it on and quickly get a shot off, with Merry hitting the keeper’s pads. In the fourth minute of the quarter NZ get a short corner for obstruction in the circle. Neal buries the ball into a packed area and it’s cleared. In the fifth minute, Michelson drives the ball through the centre to the right, passes to McLaren, who moves it into the circle for Smith, but she can’t find the target. Soon after this, the Aussie’s waste another short corner. They’ve had a few of these now and their coach must be left scratching his head.
With one minute and forty six seconds remaining Sally Rutherford is brought off for a kicking back as New Zealand look to top the group. It doesn’t work and the game ends in a 1 – 1 draw and Australia top the group.