Grace Stewart’s Hockeyroos prove too strong for Korea Republic

The Hockeryoos prior to their match against the Korea Republic in Japan. Photo: HOCKEY AUSTRALIA
The Hockeryoos prior to their match against the Korea Republic in Japan. Photo: HOCKEY AUSTRALIA

GERRINGONG’S Grace Stewart and her Hockeyroos have one foot in Sunday’s Four Nations final after Stephanie Kershaw’s double fired them to a 3-1 win over Korea Republic in Ibaraki on Thursday night.

In a stop-start performance, Australia went ahead through Kershaw’s 18th minute rocket, but Korea drew level five minutes later from Hawa In.

The Hockeyroos responded after half-time with Rosie Malone converting from newcomer Sophie Taylor’s cutback, before Kershaw added the sealer with two minutes to play.

Australia finished with 23-8 circle entries but failed to convert that into a shots on goal dominance (8-7), while they lost the penalty corner count 3-2 too.

The result leaves Australia top of the standings with two wins from two matches, with hosts Japan and USA set to play later tonight.

Australia are next in action on Saturday from 3pm AEST against United States.

“In the first half we struggled to keep the ball. In the second half we made many passes which allowed us to control the game,” Hockeyroos coach Paul Gaudoin said.

"It was pleasing to win and hopefully now make the final."

Second-gamer Naomi Evans shot over early while Sophie Taylor set up Grace Stewart for a chance on the turn which Korea keeper Youbin Choi saved.

Georgina Morgan also forced Choi into a good block from a 13rd minute short corner.

Townsville’s Kershaw, who brought up her 50th cap on Wednesday, broke the deadlock when she unleashed a powerful strike from just inside the circle.

Korea levelled shortly after when Australia switched off as Jeongihn Kim’s scuffed shot was deflected past goalkeeper Ash Wells by Hawa In.

Chances were few and far between either side of the break until Malone finished buried Sophie Taylor’s cutback from the baseline from close range.

Lily Brazel played her part, drifting forward and finding an unmarked Evans inside the D, before she centred for Kershaw to put the icing on the cake with a 58th minute goal.