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Late goal saves South Africa
28 Feb 2008 12:56

Tarryn Bright struck home a last minute goal to save the SPAR South African women’s hockey team’s blushes in the second round of matches at the SPAR Cup Tri-Nations series on Wednesday. The home squad defeated Canada 1-0.

While South Africa went out strong and showed some tactical genius throughout the match, luck was not on their side as chances aplenty went wide or over goal. The home team is using this series to try out some of their tactics ahead of the Olympic Games taking place in Beijing this year and for coach Jenny King there were enough good passages of play to suggest they are on track.

“At halftime, we acknowledged that we were playing good hockey and the amount of chances we created was quite encouraging to see,” said King.

King’s players struggled to score in the first half despite picking up four penalty corners in that half alone. The coach admitted that the set-piece was not a priority in this series and Canadian captain Sarah Forbes, who is also the goalkeeper, said the South Africans seemed a bit predictable at times.

“We looked at their key players and sometimes are able to work out what they going to do in the penalty corner,” reckoned Forbes. “South Africa picks up a lot of penalty corners and if they can get that going then they’ll score quite a bit more.”

South Africa didn’t get any more penalty corners in the second half, but King made a tactical change about 10 minutes from time which saw them looking like a different team altogether. SA captain Marsha Marescia pulled her troops together to make sure they all understood their roles and minutes later Bright found herself in a pocket of space just in front of goal which allowed her space to bang in the goal with two minutes to go.

“We playing a system that the forwards aren’t comfortable with and it will take time before it settles,” said King, “We always felt that the goal was going to come, especially in that final seven minutes, because we put so much pressure on them.

“It was encouraging to see the midfield putting some good moves together and also up front so we’re happy with this performance.”

South Africa takes on Russia on Thursday here at the Randburg Hockey Stadium in their third round of matches. The hosts beat the Russians 6-0 on Monday and should be able to navigate that fixture easily.

South Africa – Canada 1-0

Goal scorer Tarryn Bright (69)

Source: BLD

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