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MEN'S OCEANIA CUP 2ND MATCH 3 ALL DRAW
The Kookaburras took an early lead with a goal from their first penalty corner of the match which hit the post and fell directly in the path of Australian forward Mark Knowles who slotted it home.
The Black Sticks were stung into action and responded with a couple of good chances but were unable to capitalise on the scoreboard. The remainder of the half was an end to end tussle with both teams working hard to breach the opposition defense. Both goalkeepers were called on to make critical saves and were not found wanting.
The second half saw the Black Sticks come out firing and Simon Child equalised with only 30 seconds gone on the clock. The Australians immediately responded with some strong attacking play only to be denied by some desperate defense by a diving Brad Shaw who suffered a badly damaged finger and had to leave the field. Two minutes later Australia scored through World Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer to take the score to 2-1.
Some entertaining end to end hockey followed with both teams creating some excellent chances. Black Stick Blair Hilton netted the equaliser after some brilliant midfield play from Phil Burrows found Simon Child who made a clinical pass to Hilton on the post for a classy finish.
A midfield battle ensued with neither team able to penetrate the opposition defense until Australian Russell Ford capitalised on a well taken early free hit to take the score to 3-2 with 22 minutes left on the clock.
Black Stick Shea McAleese's diving pass to Nick Wilson on the spot gave New Zealand their third goal to again level the scores for the third time in the match.
The last 18 minutes saw some desperate play by both teams with the Australians driving forward and the Kiwis defending stoutly and producing numerous quality counter attacks.