In another close trans-Tasman battle between the Black Sticks women and the Hockeyroos, a solitary third quarter goal for Australia was the difference in Tokyo early this morning.
After four draws and two Australian victories in recent clashes between the two sides, the Hockeyroos took the three points today with a 1-0 victory to remain unbeaten at the top of Pool B.
The Black Sticks women now drop to third in the pool behind Australia and Argentina, and they will need some points from their final pool match with China for goal difference not to come into the equation in determining the quarterfinalists.
New Zealand were today without their skipper Stacey Michelsen, with her match time being managed after a month out with a hamstring injury, as well as defender Tarryn Davey with a minor groin strain.
Captain Sam Charlton said while today’s result was disappointing they needed to move on quickly for a big match with China tomorrow.
“We didn’t execute some things as well we would have liked and maybe didn’t create as many opportunities as we would have hoped, but it’s just really important we build on it for the next game.”
The Kiwis had earlier collected two wins in Tokyo – with a 3-0 upset against world no. 2 Argentina and 2-1 victory over Japan before going down 2-1 to Spain.
“We’re disappointed not to have a couple more points on the board. I think we’ve left some games out there probably against Spain and against Australia,” said Charlton.
After a scoreless and very quiet first half in today’s game, Australia finally opened the scoring four minutes into the second half with Emily Chalker very cleverly touching in a cross to collect her fourth goal in Tokyo.
The goal spurred the Black Sticks into action winning a penalty corner minutes later, where Hockeyroos goalkeeper Rachael Lynch saved the shot from Olivia Merry.
Despite taking off goalkeeper Grace O’Hanlon for the final few minutes, the Kiwis couldn’t find the equaliser and the match finished at 1-0 to the Hockeyroos.
While the Black Sticks were strong in defence today with Australia having 15 circle entries, five shots on goal and three penalty corners, they made very little enterprise on attack.
Australia 1 (Emily Chalker 34 min) New Zealand 0. Halftime: 0-0
New Zealand Women: Ella Gunson (Northland); Stephanie Dickins (North Harbour); Katie Doar, Julia King, Grace O’Hanlon (GK), Elizabeth Thompson (Auckland); Samantha Charlton – captain, Frances Davies, Rose Keddell (Tauranga); Holly Pearson, Hope Ralph (Taranaki); Olivia Shannon (Manawatu); Megan Hull (Wairarapa); Kelsey Smith (Nelson); Olivia Merry (Canterbury), Tessa Jopp (Otago)
Next up the Black Sticks play China at 12.30pm (NZ time) tomorrow in their final pool game.