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Loughborough University

Beijing Olympics 2008

News from Beijing

17 August 2008

Hockey hope for fifth place playoff

Great Britain pulled back a late goal through Matt Daly to rescue a point from their fourth match in their Olympic campaign as they struggled to break down a gritty Canada.

The result means that hopes of reaching the semi-finals are all but over, but the chance of finishing third in the pool and playing in the 5th/6th play-off – which would guarantee a finish at least two places above their current world ranking of 8 – is still alive.

The Loughborough six were called up once again as Britain struggled to take the lead against a ferocious Canada side.

In what was a pretty uninspiring first-half, a dogged Canada began brightly in the opening two minutes with Wayne Fernandes looking dangerous as he got behind the British defence before birthday-boy Richard Mantell raced back to clear the ball. Two minutes later, it was Bindi Kullar who was denied by some good defending.

Britain won their only penalty corner of the first-half in the 10th minute but Richard Mantell’s shot, although on target, was hit straight into Mike Mahmood’s pads.

Three minutes later, Rob Moore found some space down the right and put a dangerous ball into the circle, but a diving Stephen Dick was denied by Mahmood.

Britain found themselves a man up in the 28th minute when Sukhwinder Singh received a yellow card for swinging his stick into graduate Glenn Kirkham’s face, but the advantage lasted for only two minutes as Matt Daly joined him in the sin-bin after a poor tackle on Ken Pereira.

With four minutes left on the clock, Canada unleashed a ferocious shot on goal, so much so that it knocked Ben Hawes’s stick out of his hand before the ball went out of play which was the last action before the interval.

Just as they did in the first-half, Canada came out brightly after the break and just after the restart, Paul Werrlaufer’s shot found the back of the net, but to the Canadian’s dismay, the umpire had blown his whistle a second before, then shortly after, Canada stole the ball from the British defence to allow Bindi Kullar a free run at goal, but Loughborough’s Ali McGregor raced out to meet him and prevented any shot.

40 minutes in, James Tindall received his second yellow card of the tournament when he clashed with a Canadian player and overturned him on his shoulder in an impetuous move and Canada took full advantage of the numerical advantage when Ken Pereira beat McGregor at his near post, squeezing the ball in from the right of the circle to put his side 1-0 up in the 48th minute.

Tindall returned to the field of play with 18 minutes left on the clock and immediately sought to make amends, upping the pressure on the Canadians, and Britain worked hard to create openings but struggled to break down their opposition’s defence.

On the 56th minute, student Jon Bleby was forced to leave the pitch after being hit in the mouth by a stray stick from Bindi Kullar and although his apologies were forthcoming, he would have felt lucky that the umpire didn’t see the incident.

In the 59th minute a good run down the left from Tindall saw him beat a couple of players and enter the circle but his shot could only find Mahmood’s pads.

Ranjeev Deol and Sukhwinder Singh combined well to give Canada a chance to make it 2-0 with six minutes left on the clock, but the move came to nothing and it was Britain who got the next goal after a free hit from the left taken by Richard Mantell was fired into the circle for Matt Daly to deflect into the back to the net to score his second of the tournament and equalise for Team GB.

Having been handed a lifeline, Britain woke up with two minutes left and won a penalty corner which was taken with 38 seconds left on the clock, but the routine found a Canadian foot winning another penalty corner taken just after the hooter sounded for full-time, but the game ended as Ashley Jackson’s stick seemed to get stuck in the astro-turf to record a 1-1 draw.

Head Coach Jason Lee said after the match “The first 25 minutes showed we had enough to win but our discipline cost us. They went down to 10 men (on the 26th minute when Sukhwinder Singh was sin-binned) and that was our golden opportunity, but we didn’t take advantage. There are many positives about our team, but there are some negatives and we’re now left with no chance of the semi-finals”.

Great Britain will play their final pool match against world no.1 Australia on Tuesday at 1330 BST

Loughborough University - Beijing 2008

Beijing facts

There are 55 Loughborough athletes in action at the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Did you know?

Former Olympic Champion Sebastian Coe is a Loughborough graduate.

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