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Loughborough University

Beijing Olympics 2008

News from Beijing

23 August 2008

Middleton goal helps hockey to fifth place finish

Student Barry Middleton scored his second goal in Beijing to help Britain’s men’s hockey to its best Olympic finish since the Gold Medal winning performance of 1988.

A 5-2 victory over world number five Korea means Britain has finished fifth at the Games - three places above than its world ranking of 8.

Great Britain started what was a goalless first-half well, dominating the early period of play, and won their first penalty corner in the 2nd minute, but Richard Mantell’s strike was wide of the mark and in the 5th minute, a kneeling Stephen Dick at the post couldn’t quite get to a stationary ball.

Korea’s first penalty corner came in the 10th minute, but Jong Hyun Jang’s flick was tipped over the bar by Loughborough player Alistair McGregor who finished the tournament in the fine form he has played in throughout. Their 23rd minute penalty corner was wide of the mark and McGregor’s foot denied an attempt from Nam Yong Lee in the 32nd minute after a cross from Jong Ho Seo in a quick counter-attacking move.

Graduate Richard Alexander had what was probably Britain’s best chance of the first-half just before the break when he won the ball just outside of the circle and dribbled towards goal, but his shot flashed past the post to leave it 0-0 with all to play for in the second-half.

Team GB again began brightly and won a 39th minute penalty corner but a good save from Don Sik Ko in the Korean goal prevented Richard Mantell from opening Britain’s account. It wasn’t long however before the breakthrough was found when an unmarked Middleton received the ball in the circle, taking it forward with an excellent first touch and finishing with good composure in the 44th minute.

It took just four minutes for Korea to rule out the goal with one of their own after a good penalty corner routine ended with their specialist taker Jong Hyan Jang putting the ball just out of McGregor’s reach, but Britain were back on top within a minute after they were awarded a penalty stroke when Alexander was deliberately brought down by Dong Sik Ko and Ashley Jackson made no mistake from the spot, firing his shot into the roof of the net.

A good strike from Seong Jung Kang was well saved from McGregor in the 53rd minute to prevent Korea from levelling the score for a second time and it was Team GB who was to get the next goal going 3-1 up in a counter-attacking move which saw a great run down the left from Rob Moore, feeding the ball forward to Dick who put a good ball across the face of goal for a diving Clarke to deflect home.

Captain Ben Hawes had the opportunity to get on the scoresheet, but his 60th minute reverse stick hit from the right went flying past the left post.

A 61st minute Korean penalty corner was well-defended by Alexander and shortly after, a shot from the edge of the circle was kept out by McGregor. Britain broke quickly and raced up the other end of the pitch and a good pass from Jackson found Clarke in open space who, one on one with Dong Sik Ko, coolly rounded the keeper and ended with a quality finish.

Korea’s penalty corner specialist was sin-binned in the 63rd minute and with their opponents down to 10-men, Britain continued to push forward and in the 65th minute Moore supplied Dick in the circle, but his well-struck reverse stick hit was wide of the mark.

Despite the absence of Jong Hyan Jang, Korea converted a 67th minute penalty corner with Hye Sng Hyun placing a low drag-flick under the body of McGregor to pull back a goal, but the action was not over as Britain netted a last-minute goal when graduate Glenn Kirkham’s pass from the right was deflected into the back of the net off the stick of captain Jong Ho Seo with seconds left on the clock.

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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