Kookaburras claim bronze
AUSTRALIA'S men's hockey team have claimed bronze in an entertaining encounter with host nation Great Britain, taking the match 3-1. In front of a jovial crowd, the Aussies broke a 1-1 halftime deadlock as they scored two second half goals too ensure they did not leave London empty handed.
With the fans on their side, GB looked to feed off them as they did during their pool matches several days ago.
However the Kookaburras managed to quiet them temporarily when Simon Orchard put one in the back of the net from the top of the circle, giving them the initial lead. Unfortunately it was short lived, with GB levelling the scores late in the half from their first penalty corner of the game, with a variation catching the Aussie defence off guard.
The Kookaburras had an opportunity to reclaim the lead when they were awarded their first penalty corner with 20 seconds to go in the half, however the shot by Chris Ciriello was well saved.
Returning from the halftime break the Aussies had the opening chance when Russell Ford weaved his way into the circle finding Glenn Turner who was unable to convert in front of a congested goal.
Off the back of an Aussie counter attack Alastair Wilson fouled Eddie Ockenden and was given a yellow card and a five minute stint on the sideline, an incident that would have a lasting effect on his team's chances at claiming a medal in front of their home supporters.
The Kookaburras were soon awarded their first penalty corner of the second half and when Ben Hawes broke from the goal line the Aussies were left with just four players protecting their goal.
However, the Aussies were unable to capitalise on the golden opportunity as the initial shot on goal from Kieran Govers was deflected before British goal keeper saved captain Eddie Ockenden's deflection attempt.
They had another penalty corner a minute later and this time they regained the lead after another Govers shot deflection this time fell to Jamie Dwyer who put the ball past the keeper and his team up 2-1 with 22 minutes to play.
Australia were on a roll and were again awarded a penalty corner but could not convert despite having two bites at the cherry.
It was not too long before the Kookaburras took a 3-1 lead though, as Govers finally got his name on the scoresheet after some strong lead up play in the circle from Jamie Dwyer.
The Aussies had taken control of the match with eleven minutes, dominating possession and ensuring the home crowd's chances of seeing a British bronze were fading.
In desperation the British side pulled their goalkeeper and added an extra field player in an attempt to cut the deficit and remain in the hunt for a podium finish.
The extra man saw the home players and crowd lift as they began to press further up the pitch, penetrate the circle and force the Aussies to defend, a task they were well and truly up to as the minutes ticked away.
Despite coming to London hoping to leave with a gold medal, the Aussies had been able to rebound from the disappointment of their 4-2 semi final defeat to Germany and bounce back to claim bronze.