High scoring draw in Hobart
03 Feb 2006 12:31
Australia 4 Spain 4
AUS – Jamie Dwyer FG 14m, Andrew Smith PC 29m PC 48m FG, Nathan Eglington FG 42m; Spain – Pol Amat FG 19m PC 47m, David Alegre PC 34m, Santi Freixa FG 40m
The Kookaburras and Spain fought out another high scoring draw in game four of the best of five series on Friday night.
The appreciative Hobart crowd were treated to a goal feast with both teams playing an attacking brand of hockey where turnovers were quickly turned into goals.
As he did on Wednesday night, Jamie Dwyer opened the scoring for the Kookaburras when Matt Naylor found him open in the circle. His goal gave the Kookaburras something for their hard work after previous attacks resulted in several close calls but not goals.
The Kookaburras' lead was short-lived, however, when Pol Amat showed why he is considered one of the premier strikers in the world, his high flick on goal leaving debutant goalkeeper Daniel McPherson bamboozled and giving Spain its first.
At the 29-minute mark, Andrew Smith finally got one past the Spanish keeper with a powerful penalty corner flick; he had earlier created a number of shots on goal, his pace clearly troubling the Spanish' defence.
Once again though, Spain broke back when a well worked penalty corner play saw Alegre flick one past McPherson with a minute to go before half time.
After the break both sides continued to attack the goals, Spain not sparing a thought for Daniel McPherson in his first match. He must have wondered why he had to debut against the best strike line in the world when Freixa scored Spain's third goal, five minutes after half time.
McPherson did well to block the shot, however couldn't prevent the Spanish striker's back up and goal.
Two minutes later Jamie Dwyer brought the ball into the Australian' circle, drawing the Spanish defence and leaving Nathan Eglington open, his powerful strike levelling the scores once again.
Pol Amat then scored his second goal for the match, this time from a penalty corner play that saw McPherson make another great diving save, only to see the Spaniard pounce on the rebound and flick it home.
The see-sawing scoring continued when 20 seconds later Andrew Smith guided a Michael Boyce strike past the Spanish keeper for his second for the match and the last for either team.
Both sides had chances to score the winning goal in the latter stages, however, some good defence combined with some skill errors meant the scores remained unchanged. A 4-all draw a fitting result for such an even contest.
Kookaburras Assistant Coach Colin Batch on the match
'It was a high standard, high scoring game. It was a very competitive, intense game. We had some good control in the first half but Spain put us under some real pressure. We needed to possess the ball down back more.'
On competition for positions
'These five matches are about giving the players enough opportunity to show what they can do. We told the players they need to perform over the five matches and show consistency and quality, not just perform in one match.'
On Daniel McPherson's debut
'I'm not sure he enjoyed it. He made some good saves on some penalty corners. A first game against Spain is pretty tough. He should be pretty happy with his first performance.'
On a high scoring series
'It's great for the crowd. It's the trend in men's hockey, there are a lot of goals being scored.'