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GB heroics ensure dramatic draw

August 5, 2012 21:40 pm

Great Britain produced a brilliant second-half comeback to secure a 3-3 draw against world number ones Australia who appeared to be coasting towards the semi-finals.

The hosts were 3-0 down early in the second half, as two goals from Matt Ford and another from Mark Knowles had seemingly put Australia in control.

However, Jonty Clarke began the fightback before captain Barry Middleton and James Tindall completed the recovery.

GB had won only five of 47 meetings with their rivals and had not beaten them since the 1988 Olympic semi-final in Seoul and while this was not a victory it certainly felt like one as the team came back from the dead against the best side in the world.

It means both will probably need a draw in their final Pool A matches to make the last four.

Australia missed two early half-chances through Matt Gohdes and Glenn Turner before taking a seventh-minute lead when Ford's run down the left byline evaded two tackles before squeezing a shot under goalkeeper James Fair from a narrow angle.

Matt Daly's reverse-stick shot only just missed being turned in by Clarke before the Kookaburras caught the Britain defence napping. Clarke was sent to the sin-bin, and while the hosts were still reorganising, Tim Deavin's quick pass into the circle came off Dan Fox's foot to present Ford with a simple chance from close in.

Great Britain's only penalty corner saw Ashley Jackson's effort blocked. The interval came at the wrong time for Jason Lee's side as they were just starting to build momentum and Australia were able to regroup.

When Knowles drilled a low shot inside Fair's left-hand post it looked like the game was up but GB showed the battling qualities which may yet get them into the semi-finals. Clarke's run along the byline caused concern in the Kookaburras' defence but he had a stroke of luck when his cross hit Chris Ciriello and bounced over the line.

But there was no fortune about their well-rehearsed penalty corner move which saw Middleton dive in at the far post to deflect in Richard Smith's pass. And they found the weak spot again four minutes from time when Tindall picked up Middleton's cut-back to power in a deflected shot which goalkeeper Nathan Burgers could not keep out.

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