The Black Sticks Women have continued their good run at the Four Nations tournament with a 3-3 draw with Australia at the Lloyd Elsmore Hockey Stadium in Pakuranga, Auckland.
Australia looked like they had the victory in the bag until Anita Punt smashed in a close range shot with just 40 seconds left on the clock.
Despite Monday’s victory over Australia in the first Four Nations series, Black Sticks coach Mark Hager was pleased with today’s result considering the team’s new look line-up.
“With the number of positional changes we made today, to still draw 3-3 with a full strength Australian team is a pretty good effort.”
Today’s Black Sticks line-up featured striker Petrea Webster and defender Sophie Devine for the first time in the series as well as a number of positional changes and a plan to rest captain Kayla Sharland as much as possible.
“We’re trying to give players an opportunity to see whether they can perform”, said Hager. “But they need to perform and we can’t leave them out there if we’re getting punished, so hopefully they’ll learn from that and be better in the next three games.”
Hager said the team would have to be aware of the USA tomorrow who were convincing as they beat India 3-0 in today’s earlier game.
Anita Punt opened the scoring for the Black Sticks with a strong drag flick into the right hand top corner of the goal after eight minutes.
Australia responded with a goal to Emily Smith a few minutes later and continued to pressure the Black Sticks goal without any success.
Krystal Forgesson, who reached the milestone of 150 caps for the Black Sticks today, had an opportunity right on half time to give the home side the lead. Despite a lovely touch to get free and a stunning reverse shot, she unfortunately hit the post.
Nine minutes into the second spell Australia’s Jodie Schulz continued her goal scoring run in the series slotting in a drag flick penalty corner, and minutes later Georgia Nanscawen got a questionable deflection to take the score to 3-1.
After 20 minutes New Zealand responded with a penalty corner goal to Sharland to bring the advantage back to one. And with just 40 seconds on the clock Anita Punt smashed in the equaliser after numerous saved shots.
The Four Nations tournament continues until Sunday with the Black Sticks playing the USA at 3pm tomorrow. To see the Four Nations match schedule go tohttp://www.hockeynz.co.nz/
Tickets are on sale at www.ticketmaster.co.nz
Hawke’s Bay is the Principal Partner of the Black Sticks Men and Women.
New Zealand v Australia
Full time: 3-3
Half time: 1-1
New Zealand goalscorers: Anita Punt 2, Kayla Sharland.
Australia goalscorers: Emily Smith, Jodie Schulz, Georgia Nanscawen
USA v India
Full time: 3-0 (USA win)
Half time: 2-0
USA goalscorers: Shannon Taylor, Paige Selenski, Michelle Cesan.