Black Sticks errors prove costly
Thu, 01 Dec 2011 9:26a.m.
The Black Sticks were given a clinical lesson in how easily mistakes are punished at the top level of men's hockey as they went down 4-3 to Spain at the North Harbour Hockey Stadium on Wednesday.
The New Zealanders looked set to claim their second warm-up match win before the Champions Trophy when they went 2-0 up in the opening 10 minutes.
But the fourth-ranked Spaniards rebounded with three goals before halftime, then held on for the victory despite a late comeback from New Zealand.
The Black Sticks beat Great Britain 3-1 in their first warm-up match on Tuesday.
The Champions Trophy begins on Saturday at the North Harbour Hockey Stadium, with the top eight men's hockey nations doing battle over the next eight days.
Black Sticks coach Shane McLeod said concentration was key when playing the top six sides.
"We got rewarded for things we did well and punished for our mistakes, but that's what happens at this level."
Disappointed that his team coughed up possession too easily, McLeod said the tough game was just what was needed ahead of the Champions Trophy.
"While the result was disappointing, it will be good in the way that we had a tough game and it will keep the guys grounded."
New Zealand grabbed an early lead when veteran Ryan Archibald slotted in a penalty corner rebound in the opening minutes. Archibald doubled the score just on eight minutes, when he again latched onto a penalty corner clearance.
The Spanish pulled one back through a penalty corner drag flick to Jorge Gabriel Dabanch, and then a simple one-two passing manoeuvre gave their second to David Alegre. Alex Casasayas took the visitors to 3-2 at the break.
A questionable penalty stroke to Spain's Eduard Tubau in the second half gave them a 4-2 lead and a late Hugo Inglis deflected goal narrowed the deficit.
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