Second half dominance secures win for Australia
23 Apr 2008 13:40
A dominant second half performance has seem the Kookaburras hold off an impressive Chinese team who played well above their world ranking of 17 in round one of the 4 Nations Tournament. After being down 0-1 at halftime, the Australians finally clinched a 2-1 victory.
Although they started the match the stronger of the two teams, the Kookaburras found themselves one goal down at the half time break after Chinese striker Hui Ren Hu converted a penalty corner mid way through the first half.
The result was disappointing for the Kookaburras considering they had only minutes earlier failed to convert their two penalty corner attempts.
2007 WorldHockey Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer was in good touch during the first half, almost finding the Kookaburras first goal after a skillful dribble to the top of the circle resulted in a quick pass to Rob Hammond. However the pass proved to a little too good, with Hammond unable to trap what was the Kookaburras best chance at goal in the first half.
Despite conceding an unexpected goal the Kookaburras maintained their composer, withstanding several Chinese attacks and fast break attempts to ensure their deficit remained at only one goal at half time.
The Kookaburras were totally dominant in the early stages of the second half and an equalizing goal seemed only moments away.
Dwyer continued to cause headaches for the Chinese defense and almost scored after finding space at the top of the circle. However the shot went slightly right of the goal as the Kookaburras remained goalless.
China maintained their fast pace in an attempt to score a goal against play however the Kookaburras remained in control and continued to mount penalty corner and scoring attempts, but to no avail.
Demonstrating their professionalism the Kookaburras refused to let frustration set in despite their inability to score off their dominance.
Eventually the Kookaburras received some reward for their hard work, scoring the equalising goal at the 62 minute mark thanks to a penalty corner conversion from Grant Schubert.
With the game now well in their control the Kookaburras continued to push, with Dwyer fittingly scoring the teams winning goal only minutes later to cap off his good game and hand the Australians the victory.
Kookaburras coach Barry Dancer noted the improved performance of his team in the second half.
'There was obviously a huge difference in our play during the second half. In particular our intensity lifted in the second half as did our pressure when they had the ball as we were far too passive in the first half,' said Dancer.
While pleased to come away with the win, Dancer also said there was a degree of experimentation within the game plan.
'This experimentation will continue throughout the remainder of this tournament and next week during our 4 nations tournament in Darwin.'
Kookaburras 2 China 1 (0-1 half time)
Goals - China Hu 24m PC, Aus Schubert 62m PC, Aus Dwyer 65m FG
Source: Hockey Australia