SA hockey need a win to stay alive

2015-01-07 00:00

THE South Africa men’s hockey team were beaten 4-3 by Austria at Queensmead in Durban last night after trailing 3-1 at half-time in the second Test of the four-match series.

The win puts the Europeans 1-0 up in the series after Monday’s first encounter was drawn 1-1.

SA scored first through a Matt Guise-Brown penalty corner drag-flick bullet in the 12th minute but the Europeans hit back with a three-goal blitz inside 10 minutes and SA faced an uphill battle going into the last two of the four 15-minute chukkas.

Michael Koerper’s penalty stroke in the 14th minute, and field goals from Alezander Bele and captain Ben Stanzl in the 19th and 23rd minutes respectively, put the Austrians, at 3-1 up, in a great position to win.

Despite both side’s hard work, the third chukka of 15 minutes went scoreless, but spurred on by an enthusiastic home crowd the fourth and final stanza saw SA pull a goal back with 10 minutes left in the match (50th minute) when a Guise-Brown pass found striker Keenan Horne, who shook off several determined tackles before being impeded by a desperate Austrian defensive lunge.

Guise-Brown stepped up and rifled his second penalty corner into the backboard (3-2) and the outcome was again in the balance. Striving hard for the 3-3 equaliser, SA threw everything at the embattled Austrians. SA continued exploiting the left flank to advantage and with six minutes left (54th) the industrious Horne latched onto the ball and cracked a pass across the face of goal for Richard Pautz to make it 3-3 in spectacular fashion.

But just two minutes later, the Austrians were back in front when Julius Heimanns scored a soft goal (4-3). The fired-up South Africans again came back hard but this time replacement keeper Ben Melic got in the way of a Guise-Brown penalty corner.

With just seconds left, SA came agonisingly close to drawing level yet again, but it was not to be, which means they cannot afford to lose the third Test if they are to stay alive in the series.


SA (1) 3 (Matt Guise-Brown PCs 12th and 50th, Richard Pautz FG 54th)

Austria (3) 4 (Michael Koerper PS 14th, FGs Alezander Bele 19th, Ben Stanzl 23rd, Julius Heimanns 56th)

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