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Lee praise for battling Britain

August 5, 2012 22:14 pm

Great Britain's men's hockey coach Jason Lee hailed the quality and grit of his side after they bounced back from 3-0 down to earn a draw against world number ones Australia.

The situation looked bleak six minutes into the second half as Matt Ford, with two goals, and Mark Knowles had put the Kookaburras into a seemingly commanding lead.

However, a rousing comeback saw Reading's Jonty Clarke pull one back via defender Chris Ciriello's foot, Barry Middleton dive in for Britain's second and James Tindall fire home a deflected third four minutes from time.

The scoreline was a repeat of the meeting of the teams in Beijing four years ago. Both Britain and Australia need a point from their last pool matches, against Spain and Pakistan respectively, to reach the semi-finals.

"The things we wanted to be at these Olympics were entertaining and play attacking hockey and I think we achieved that tonight," said Lee. "We have some quality and some grit about us but Australia are world number ones and have been for a while because they keep winning things.

"To compete we have to have a little slice of luck and be on the top of our game and I don't think we were in the first half. But we step into the space that some countries are scared to. It was a special occasion but we have to make sure we don't throw it away in the next game."

Captain Middleton said the squad never had any other thoughts but to drag themselves back into the game and they did so in brilliant fashion.

"At 3-0 it would be very easy for us to drop our heads because the Aussies have shown over the last few years when they get five or six ahead they can kill you," said the East Grinstead forward.

"We showed that we would never let that happen.

"We lost a few little battles in the first half but as the game went on we built confidence in ourselves and even at 3-3 we didn't start looking for a draw. It was a bit crazy and open but it was a brilliant game of hockey - this is the way it should be played and I hope people enjoyed it."

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