The Black Sticks Women have edged hosts Great Britain 1-0 in a must win match at the Hockey Champions Trophy in London.
New Zealand got off to the perfect start and took the lead inside the first minute after Stacey Michelsen showed her class, grabbing a brilliant solo goal having weaved her way through four players before outwitting the keeper and slotting home.
Great Britain dominated possession throughout the match but were unable to make use of their chances in the face of strong defence across the turf and fast counter attack from the Black Sticks.
Assistant coach Sean Dancer said it was pleasing to come through with the win in such a crucial match.
"It was a very challenging match and both teams had good opportunities but it was great that our girls were able to tough it out and get the result," he said.
"We know the next game against Argentina will be tough too, but its good that weve played them a number of times recently and were confident well be able to play well against them."
Shocked from the quick goal Great Britain couldnt take advantage of an extra player after Kayla Whitelock was shown a green card in the third minute, marking her first appearance of the tournament having missed the first two games with a strained hamstring.
The second quarter saw Great Britain start to work their way back into the match, but resolute Black Sticks defence and some outstanding goalkeeping from Sally Rutherford kept them scoreless with New Zealand taking their 1-0 advantage into halftime.
The Black Sticks came out of the break firing and Olivia Merry almost doubled the lead early on, but a great reflex save from Great Britains goalkeeper Maddie Hinch kept the ball out.
Minutes later a crucial goal line save from Great Britains last line of defence again kept them in the match after a well worked counter attack culminated in a Gemma Flynn shot that was destined for the goal.
In a fast paced third quarter Great Britain also had their chances to score, but failed to make their opportunities count under strong pressure from the Black Sticks in defence.
New Zealand looked dangerous throughout the match and Great Britain seemed to struggle with the pace of the Black Sticks on counter attack.
Great Britain had a great opportunity to equalise with four minutes left in the match, but at full stretch put their deflected shot wide of the target.
The Black Sticks go on to play Argentina next up on Friday at 1:30am (NZ time), with live coverage on SKY Sport 2.
In other results today, Argentina beat Australia 2-1 and the Netherlands continued their unbeaten streak dismissing USA 4-1.
BLACK STICKS 1: (Stacey Michelsen)
GREAT BRITAIN 0
Halftime: Black Sticks 1-0
- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Hockey NZ