25 Oct 2017

Great Britain upset Australia Featured

Great Britain produced an astonishing performance to down defending champions Australia 4-2 in the Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium today.


It was Great Britain’s third consecutive win in the tournament following 1-0 and 11-0 victories over Malaysia and the United States of America respectively. It was Australia’s first defeat.

“I am very pleased to beat Australia as they are a very good team,” said Great Britain head coach Jon Bleby. “When you play Australia it’s always exciting. We have two matches to go and we need to prepare and work very hard. I think the players did a good job in the first half.”

Australian head coach Brent Livermore was disappointed with the score and blamed his players for not following the process.

“Yes I am very disappointed. We lacked discipline and did not stick to the process. In one-on-one process we are mentally and physically fitter and stronger. We also lacked the urgency and Great Britain played very much the way we had expected them to play. Unfortunately we only played 50 per cent of our capacity,” said Livermore.

The Australians and British renewed their rivalry under cloudy skies and a light drizzle with several near-miss chances in the first quarter. Both teams could not find the gaps to put the ball through due to astute defensive tactics mobilised.

However, Great Britain, champions here in 2015, went on to score first, thanks to a field goal by Nicholas Park in the 25th minute as he sneaked the ball past goalkeeper George McGeoch much to the excitement of the motley English fans.

But it was a short-lived lead as Lachlan Busiko rallied back to equalise for Australia in the very next minute and Nathan Ephraums extended the lead in the 28th minute in similar fashion. It was 18-year-old Ephraums’ seventh goal in the tournament.

The third quarter resumed with Great Britain earning its fourth penalty corner but once again drew blank when team captain Jack Waller lifted the ball over the bar. 

But those tricky and anxious moments were soon kept behind as Callum Mackenzie restored parity in the 41st minute via a field goal and Edward Way showed the way from a penalty corner two minutes before end of the quarter to give Great Britain a 3-2 lead for the first time.

Duncan Scott then drummed the final nail in the 58th minute as Great Britain celebrated a marvellous 4-2 win.

Great Britain have thus amassed nine points to go top of the table standings before wrapping their preliminary round fixtures against Japan tomorrow (Oct 26) and India on Saturday. The final is on Sunday.

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