Black Sticks women roll Aussies
Sun, 29 Jul 2012 8:53p.m.
In the Olympic women's hockey group of death, New Zealand has become Australia's grim reaper.
The Black Sticks' 1-0 win over Australia in their Pool B opener at London's Riverbank Arena on Sunday has all but ended the Hockeyroos' hopes of a medal.
Black Sticks coach Mark Hager had spoken of the need to score early and this charges duly delivered with a third minute Cathryn Finlayson goal from a penalty corner.
The Black Sticks - dressed in funereal black and wielding their sticks like scythes struck their early blow - and then left the Hockeyroos to bleed out slowly.
The Hockeyroos had plenty of first half attack following Finlayson's goal, but found Black Sticks goalkeeper Bianca Russell impassable, or umpiring decisions that caused frustration.
Two important Russell stops - one from an Emily Smith chance right on the stroke of halftime - kept the Kiwis ahead.
New Zealand looked far more dangerous to open the second half, and Australia had veteran goalkeeper Toni Cronk to thank for keeping them in the contest.
Cronk made two brilliant saves - the best a full-length dive to the right to deny Katie Glynn midway through the term.
But still the Hockeyroos kept coming, failing in a video referral involving Ashleigh Nelson brought to ground near goal.
And once Smith was sin-binned for five minutes late on for backchat after disputing a decision when she appeared to be brought down by Russell, the Hockeyroos were left to rue their host of missed chances.
The Black Sticks face South Africa in the next match on Tuesday, while the Hockeyroos need to beat Germany in their next match to stay alive.
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