Hockey: Penalty shootout joy for NZ

By Robert Lowe of NZPA

After penalty shootout heartbreak yesterday, it was penalty shootout joy today for New Zealand hockey as the Black Sticks men made it a medal double at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi by claiming bronze.

The New Zealanders beat England 5-4 in the tiebreaker by slotting home all five of their attempts, while goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex saved an effort by Adam Dixon.

Earlier the teams had been locked 3-3 after both regulation and extra time.

In the crowd watching on were the Black Sticks women, who had their own penalty shootout drama yesterday, when they lost their gold medal match against Australia.

In a contest in which they were awarded two penalty strokes, the Black Sticks men let slip a two-goal lead they held with just 12 minutes of regulation time to play.

They opened the scoring from the spot via Dean Couzins, after Blair Hilton was fouled by defender Glenn Kirkham.

They made it 2-0 on the quarter hour, when skipper Phil Burrows managed to work the ball to Nick Haig, who rifled home a shot from the edge of the circle.

England hit back through James Tindall, who turned in a shot-cum-cross from Simon Mantell.

But when Hugo Inglis was brought down by English goalkeeper James Fair early in the second half, the umpire signalled another penalty stroke, which this time Hayden Shaw slotted home.

However, England ensured there would be a tense finish with a quick Mantell brace that tied the score 3-3 with eight minutes to go.

Mantell deflected in a penalty corner to peg one goal back, while New Zealand were down to 10 men with Steve Edwards having been yellow carded.

Edwards was sinbinned for his part in a collision in which his stick hit England skipper Barry Middleton on the chin, drawing blood.

Mantell then forced home his side's equalising goal from close range.

England had the better of the two periods of extra time, but couldn't get the decisive golden goal.

- NZPA

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