Hockey: Black Sticks, Pakistan draw fifth test

New Zealand goal scorer Sam Lane in action against Pakistan. Photo / Photosport
New Zealand goal scorer Sam Lane in action against Pakistan. Photo / Photosport

The Vantage Black Sticks Men have fought back to a well-earned 1-1 draw against Pakistan at Trust House Hockey Wairarapa complex in the fifth and final test.

Head coach Darren Smith said his side's performance was better than yesterday, doing a better job defending and managing their threats.

"My feeling is that we would have had more opportunities and more quality opportunities, which is good for a young group," he said.

"We had an emphasis around starting well, being proactive and communicating better. We were a lot more compact and read the play a lot better."

It was a fast start to the game and the Kiwis played with better pace and cohesion than last night, but both teams went into the halftime break locked at 0-0.

The Vantage Black Sticks dominated the third quarter, receiving a couple of penalty corners along the way but couldn't hammer home the advantage.

Their best chances in the third quarter came from penalty corners, with Cory Bennett on target but his shot was swatted away after a great reflex save from Pakistan keeper Amjad Ali.

New Zealand's second penalty corner resulted in a green card to Muhammad Arslan Qadir but Sam Lane's bullet of a shot sailed just wide of the post.

Pakistan broke the deadlock just two minutes into the final quarter with captain Abdul Haseem Khan again the goal scorer following his double in last night's test.

However, the Black Sticks showed their steel and struck back courtesy of a Sam Lane screamer from the edge of the circle with a wonderfully taken reverse stick shot with 10 minutes left to play.

Coach Smith said Pakistan were impressive throughout the series, which they won 2-1, especially through the defensive midfield area.

Smith, speaking about his first series in charge said "personally it's been good, I have got to know the guys a bit and they've gotten to know me. I've really enjoyed it but I can also see opportunities where we can do better, both on and off the pitch. It's a pretty impressive hockey team with some young guys in there."

- NZ Herald

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