Michael Burgess is a sports writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Hockey: Black Sticks go down to Korea

Black Sticks defender Andy Hayward. Photo / Dean Purcell
Black Sticks defender Andy Hayward. Photo / Dean Purcell

The Black Sticks have slumped to a 2-0 loss against Korea today in an entertaining affair in South Auckland.

After the first two matches of the six game series were draws, Korea's victory today was well deserved and the margin probably could have been greater.

The visitors spurned several other golden opportunities while New Zealand created precious few clear cut opportunities, though they finished the game strongly.

Defender Andy Hayward couldn't convert their only penalty corner opportunity late in the match and Stephen Jenness had two other half chances.

After a goal-less first half, Korea broke the game open with two goals in three minutes midway through the second half.

"It was a disappointing display," said Black Sticks coach Colin Batch. "We probably didn't reach the levels that we had in the second test and we want to see improvement from game to game. We played well in the last period but unfortunately they were 2-0 at that stage."

The pacy Koreans took the initiative from the outset, controlling the midfield and dominating territory. They forced an early penalty corner, well saved by Devon Manchester and the Kiwi custodian produced another fine stop to deny a slashing backhand shot by the impressive Hyun Hye Sung.

The hosts had to defuse another penalty chance late in the first half, and Manchester made another point blank save. It was an evenly contested game and not exactly one way traffic, but the Kiwis struggled to made decent inroads in the Korean half.

Their best first half chance came halfway through the first spell, as a Stephen Jenness deflection of a long range Blair Hilton shot whistled just over the crossbar.

The visitors upped the ante in the second half and took a deserved lead in the 50th minute, with Nam Hyun Woo cleanly converting his second penalty corner opportunity. Moments earlier Jenness blew a good chance, dribbling the ball onto his foot when in the clear towards goal.

Korea doubled their advantage in the 53rd minute, with live wire striker Hwang Tai nipping in at the near post. It should have been three soon afterwards, but Tai missed from point blank range.

New Zealand: 0
Korea: 2 (Nam Hyun Woo, Hwang Tai)
Halftime: 0-0

- Herald on Sunday

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