May 22 2013 Latest news:
Lee Power, Olympic Reporter, at the Riverbank Arena
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Team GB 1 Australia 3
Great Britain’s men were left empty handed at the end of a battling Olympic campaign at the Riverbank Arena today.
Defeat against world champions Australia left Jason Lee’s side in fourth place at the end of the hockey competition, the worst place of all to finish.
And it means the hunt for a first Olympic medal since the 1988 gold in Seoul will go for another four years.
Less than 48 hours after their stunning 9-2 defeat at the hands of Holland, GB were back to face the old enemy.
They had fought back from 3-0 down to draw with the Australians in the group phase and, having seen the women put their own semi-final disappointment behind them to beat New Zealand for bronze yesterday, GB had to soak up some early pressure.
Their defence held firm, though, to frustrate the reigning world champions, and GB looked to counter-attack when given the opportunity.
Then, with 15 minutes gone, a great aerial by Ashley Jackson found captain Barry Middleton in space, with Jonty Clarke ahead in the circle, only for the final pass to be deflected behind by Fergus Kavanagh, the last Australian defender.
Encouraged by the opening, GB then fell behind midway through the half as Jamie Dwyer made space on the left and teed up Simon Orchard, who smashed his shot past James Fair from just inside the circle.
Ben Hawes made a good block at the top of the D to deny Dwyer’s shot on the turn, as Australia looked to assert their authority.
But GB needed a goalline clearance from Iain Lewers to stop Kieran Govers netting a second on the reverse, after Fair had rushed from his line.
The ball was spending large amounts of time in the British half, but the red shirts were doing their best to hang in there.
A strong run by Old Loughts youngster Harry Martin earned GB the first penalty corner of the match with seven minutes remaining in the half.
And they made it count as regular shooter Jackson slipped the ball back to injector Lewers to deflect home at the left post and level.
A frustrated Christopher Ciriello squared up to Middleton, after the British captain was penalised for a tackle, and guaranteed himself a round of boos at all future times in possession.
But a rapid move saw Orchard play the ball into the circle for Glenn Turner, whose diving attempt caught the foot of Lewers to earn Australia their first penalty corner of the match in the final minute of the opening period.
Pantomime villain Ciriello saw his drag flick kicked wide by the left foot of Fairs, though, to ensure honours remained even at the interval.
Fair denied Turner five minutes into the second half, after Russell Ford’s pass had set up a shooting chance from a tight angle, before Jackson saw an effort blocked at the other end.
Alastair Wilson was shown a yellow card, after contesting a decision for a raised stick, putting further pressure on the hosts.
And Australia called for a video referral after Orchard ran into the circle and played the ball off the foot of Lewers, earning another penalty corner.
Hawes was adjudged to have broken the line early and banished to halfway, as the Aussies reloaded. But Kieran Govers saw his effort deflect wide as shortstaffed GB escaped.
Another video referral by the Aussies followed when the ball was deflected against Richard Smith and although Fairs made a superb reflex save to deny Dwyer’s first effort, the experienced Australian volleyed the ball against the backboard as it hung in the air.
And yet another decision was upheld by the judge upstairs moments later to leave GB to defend another set-piece.
The hosts thought they had managed it, as the shot was blocked, but the umpire ordered another corner, which was deflected wide to loud cheers from the crowd.
Fair threw out his left hand to bat away Ford’s well-struck shot midway through the half, but Martin’s low cross from the right was just beyond the diving Jackson on the GB counter-attack.
And Australia gave themselves some breathing space with 13 minutes left when Dwyer’s shot was beaten away by Fairs, but volleyed into the back of the net by Govers for a 3-1 lead.
Fair was removed for an extra outfield player with just under five minutes to go in one last throw of the dice by coach Lee, ratcheting up the tension among the fans.
But although GB managed to keep the ball in the Australian end for an extended period of time, there was no avoiding the loss.