Paton brothers shine bright for SA in thrilling victory over Malaysia

2013-06-07 00:00

MISSED chances in the first half cost the South Africa men’s hockey team dearly as Malaysia scored 30 seconds from half-time (35th minute) through a clinical finish by Marhan Jalil to take a 1-0 lead into the second half at the University of North West Hockey Centre in Potchefstroom yesterday, but goals in the 59th minute by Wade Paton and the winner 17 seconds from the end (70th minute) by his younger brother Taine Paton earned SA a thrilling victory in the first of the four-Test series.

SA deserved the win as they won six penalty corners to two against and got in more goal shots from field play, but on another day the spoils could have gone Malaysia’s way. Both goalkeepers were superb, with Rassie Pieterse in particular keeping his side in the game at key moments.

The pulsating encounter makes the second and third Test matches, both at 3 pm on Saturday and Sunday at the same venue, an enticing prospect.

With just 30 seconds left in the first half, Pieterse blocked Nabil Fitri’s shot from close, but Jalil buried the rebound into the backboard for 1-0.

Midway through the second half Faizal Saari and then Abdul Sukri fired Malaysia’s first two PCs at Pieterse, who saved brilliantly with glove and then stick while postman Jethro Eustice also did a superb job.

SA won their fourth PC with 11 minutes left on the clock (59th) and this time Wade Paton on the slip-pass left was not to be denied (1-1).

With three minutes left (67th) Malaysia won their second PC, but SA first-wave defender Jonty Robinson got out of the starting blocks fast enough to deflect the rocket shot away from danger. SA broke out of defence and Taine Paton nailed the winner with 17 seconds to full-time for a memorable 2-1 victory.

The fourth and final Test is at 7 pm at Randburg on Tuesday.

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