Bright end for dominant SA

2008-02-27 00:00

A strong finish ensured that South Africa beat Canada 1-0 in the third Test match of the Spar Cup Three Nations tournament at the Randburg Hockey Stadium yesterday afternoon.

After the Spar South African women’s team had dominated both territorially and in possession throughout the match but had been unable to trouble the scorers, a renewed effort in the last seven minutes was rewarded with a Tarryn Bright goal in the second-last minute.

A change in tactics inspired by coach Jenny King put pressure on Canada’s back four and they were forced onto the back foot. As Spar SA skipper Marsha Marescia urged her players to redouble their efforts, the home team swarmed all over the Canadian circle.

Fine stickwork and incisive running by Henna du Buisson, Kathleen Taylor — player of the match for the second Test in a row — and Kelly Madsen took the SA team close on a number of occasions, but it looked as if the feisty Canadians would hold on for a draw.

But in the 69th minute Vida Ryan unloaded to Du Buisson, who passed to Bright. She slipped the ball past heroic Canadian goalkeeper and team captain Sarah Forbes for the winner.

Coach King was far more impressed with the SA performance in this match than with the team’s opener on Monday, winning 6-0 against Russia. King said this SA effort was "world class".

"I don’t know how we didn’t convert more of the great goal-scoring opportunities we created, and the score didn’t reflect our dominance, but the overall performance and increased confidence of the younger players like Kelly Madsen was pleasing," said King.

Defenders Kim Hubach and Cindy Brown, as well as goalkeeper Sanani Mangisa, had games to remember.

The penalty-corner count was 5-1 in Spar South Africa’s favour, while shots on goal were about 12-2.

At 4 pm today, the 12th-ranked Spar SA meet the world’s 20th ranked Russia, and a marked improvement is expected against a side that, player for player, does not come close to the home team.

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