Kirkham stars but Team GB struggle to point in hockey clash

Great Britain's Glenn Kirkham during the London Prepares Series Visa International Invitational at the Riverbank Stadium, Olympic Park, East London, 3rd May 2012
Great Britain's Glenn Kirkham during the London Prepares Series Visa International Invitational at the Riverbank Stadium, Olympic Park, East London, 3rd May 2012

ALFORD’S Glenn Kirkham was in Olympic action again for Team GB’s men’s hockey side as a late goal rescued a point in a 2-2 draw against South Africa.

Kirkham, once again captain of the team, led from the front as Team GB took an early lead through Ashley Jackson from a short corner after 14 minutes.

But two goals in quick succession in the last ten minutes saw the South Africans go 2-1 ahead through Austin Smith and Jonathan Robinson before Jackson popped with a somewhat controversial equaliser, after long deliberation from the video match referee, to square up the match.

And if not for a fantastic save from Erasmus Pieterse in the South African goal as time expired it could have been even better for the Brits, but Kirkham insisted that their performance had not been good enough on the day.

“South Africa was always going to be a different test to Argentina, they are an up and at you team whereas the Argentines like to sit back more,” he said.

“We had our chances, especially in the first half, and did not take them as we would have liked and then in the second half we gave them a bit too much time on the ball, a bit too much respect and they got back into it.

“Coming into the game we wanted all three points but we will not know until the end of the group if this is one point gained or two points lost.

“The truth is we were not at our best, but we want to be getting the win whether we are playing our best stuff or not and it is disappointing to only got one point.

“The atmosphere in those last five minutes was incredible, I’ve never seen or felt anything like that, it was just fantastic.”

The Brits next clash in Pool B sees them take on Pakistan at the Riverbank Arena on Friday in what now becomes a must-win game for the home side.

After that come their two big tests in the preliminary stages, Australia and Spain, silver and bronze medallists from Beijing respectively, and Kirkham admitted that there is more to come from his side.

“We just gave them a little bit too much time especially around their defensive third but we have to try and take the positives,” he added.

“We knew going into the group that it was going to be tight and points would be dropped.

“There’s a lot of hockey still to be played and Pakistan up next is yet another different prospect, they got a good draw against Spain so we need to make sure we are on it from the first whistle.”

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