South Coast pair help Hockeyroos put four goals past China PR

The Hockeyroos huddle before game four against China PR. Photo: HOCKEY AUSTRALIA
The Hockeyroos huddle before game four against China PR. Photo: HOCKEY AUSTRALIA

GERRINGONG’S Grace Stewart, Ulladulla’s Kalindi Commerford and their Hockeyroos have taken the lead in the five-match series against China PR after a 4-1 victory at Guildford Grammar Turf on Friday night.

Australia continued the theme of first-half goals in the series, racing to a 3-nil lead in the second quarter.

Kathryn Slattery scored two goals inside the opening six minutes to give Australia a 2-nil lead and they never looked back.

Hockeyroos skipper Emily Smith added a third in the 26th minute, before China pulled one back before half-time through Luo.

China pressed in the second half but Gabi Nance settled the contest with a calm finish in the 54th minute.

The two sides will meet again in the final game of the series, which Australia leads 2-1 with one draw, on Saturday at Guildford Grammar Turf from 6pm WST/9pm AEDT.

Smith fired an early warning shot with an effort saved by China goalkeeper Li Dongxiao inside the first minute, before the Hockeyroos took a fifth minute lead.

After a penalty corner broke down, Eddie Bone, in her third game back after a six-month knee injury, shot goalward with Slattery deflecting it home.

Sixty seconds later, Grace Stewart shot low across goal, allowing Slattery to divert home from a central position for 2-nil. 

Savannah Fitzpatrick fired over twice in the quick succession as Australia mounted the pressure, whilst restricting China’s opportunities on goal.

After a slow start to the second quarter, Australia captain Smith added a third in the 26th minute, deflecting home Fitzpatrick’s diagonal ball.

Nance shot wide twice before China pulled a goal back when Luo powered home into the back of the net from a cutback on the stroke of half-time.

Stewart had a chance to restore Australia’s three-goal buffer in the third quarter when she swooped on an errant pass but Li pulled off a diving save.

Emily Hurtz also tested Li while Fitzpatrick missed a golden opportunity from close range before the final break.

Nance settled the contest in the 54th minute with a cool finish after more good work from Slattery in the lead-up.

Hurtz almost added a fifth but Li made an excellent point-blank save to ensure it remained 4-1 at full-time.

Full-time: Australia 4 (Slattery 5’, 6’, Smith 26’, Nance 54’) defeated China 1 (Luo 33’)

Hockeyroos team: Wells (gk), Bone, Nobbs, Kenny, McMahon, Commerford, Claxton, Nance, S. Fitzpatrick, Smith (c), Slattery; Bartram (gk), Fey, Taylor, Bates, Kershaw, Hurtz, Stewart

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