A superb individual goal from New Zealand’s Stacey Michelsen handed the Blacksticks their first win of the competition, as their early strike and resolute defence saw off hosts, Great Britain 1-0. Michelsen weaved her way through the defence to calmly slot home in the opening minute of the match and despite Great Britain’s best efforts to claw the result back, the New Zealand defence stood firm to get the three points.
Michelesen’s slaloming run opened up the defence from the very start of the match. The No31 calmly rounded the goalkeeper to slot home, from close range, for a dream start. New Zealand, buoyed by their early breakthrough pressed Great Britain with plenty of energy, not allowing their opponents time on the ball. This meant Danny Kerry’s side were unable to create any clear chances in the first quarter and went in at the break trailing 1-0.
New Zealand were first to threaten in the second quarter, winning an early penalty corner. Anita McLaren went for goal but some solid defensive work charged the shot down. New Zealand brought Maddie Hinch into the action moments later but the goalkeeper was up to the task with a fine save.
The hosts worked their way back into the contest and some splendid play from Sophie Bray earned them a penalty corner. Giselle Ansley took the shot but somehow Brooke Neal cleared it off the line. Ansley took the honours from another penalty corner but this time Rose Keddell was out quickly to charge it down. Despite a better second quarter Great Britain trailed at the half way point.
At the start of the third quarter Hinch was called upon to make another save, extending a telescopic right leg to kick clear a fierce shot from Olivia Merry. Moments later, Kate Richardson-Walsh was on hand to clear off the line from Gemma Flynn, both sides searched for the all-important next goal. Great Britain soon forced another penalty corner. An intricate move involving a double dummy set up Laura Unsworth whose pass was deflected agonizingly wide by Bray. At the other end, Hinch did well to make save from McLaren’s shot and her opposite number Sally Rutherford made a good block from Alex Danson’s deflection at the other end.
New Zealand’s deep defence continued to keep Great Britain at bay in the final quarter. Bray had a good chance to level things up but her snapshot on the backhand flashed wide of the target. They went even closer after Bray turned provider, fizzing a low cross in which a diving Townsend deflected just wide. Hinch gloved away a late chance from Petrea Webster but despite plenty of pressure; Great Britain could not break through and were beaten.
Susannah Townsend told Great Britain Hockey afterwards: “Conceding an early goal isn’t ideal but that after that we played some really good hockey. They are a really fast counter attacking team but we stopped them at the source. After those first five minutes we were on top. On another day we could have taken our chances and could have taken the win. This is tournament hockey; we have to go out and the get three points but we came away with nothing so we have come away very disappointed.”
“We tried to play the right way today. We looked at the performance against Holland and weren’t good enough. We took a step up today and we’ve done everything but score. Unfortunately that is the most important thing when you come into a hockey game. It is not ideal but we will take it away and work on it as we want to get into the medal matches.”
“We are a very fit team so we’ll bounce back. We will go and analyse the game and figure out what went wrong and I think we have a enough time to do that. We are a goal scoring team and we will come back and try to show that. You can see we played well so there is no reason to panic. This is a tournament we are trying to win and we are putting up a good show for ourselves and our fans. We will see what happens in the next game.”
In the other matches of the day Argentina beat Australia 2-1 whilst the Netherlands continued their dominant run, beating USA 4-1.
All teams return to action at the Hockey Champions Trophy on Thursday 23 June with GB taking on USA. Ticketing details here.
Great Britain 0 (0)
New Zealand 1 (1)
Stacey Michelsen 1 (FG)
Starting XI vs. New Zealand
|Laura Unsworth||East Grinstead|
|Hannah Macleod||St Albans|
|Sophie Bray||East Grinstead|
|Crista Cullen||No Club|
|Lily Owsley||University of Birmingham|
|DID NOT PLAY
Report courtesy of GB & England Hockey