5 Aug 2012

Black Sticks almost blow it but beat US 3-2

12:59 pm on 5 August 2012

The New Zealand women's hockey team has kept its Olympic campaign on track with a hard-fought 3-2 win over the United States.

In a dramatic 70 minutes in London, the Black Sticks struggled to score, despite a myriad of chances.

The game statistics said it all. The US scored its two goals from just two attempts. New Zealand had 20 attempts - 13 from field play and seven penalty corners - but converted only three, even when the US goalie was brought out onto the field in the last five minutes, leaving the goal open.

Relieved captain Kayla Sharland says her players lacked composure when they needed to be calm and clinical.

New Zealand's scorers were Sharland, Clarissa Eshuis and Gemma Flynn. Emily Naylor was playing her 200th test and Anita Punt her 100th.

The Black Sticks have now won three of their four pool matches, and a win against Germany in their last pool match on Monday would put them into the semi-finals, although a draw may also be good enough.

Reuters reports that New Zealand is top of its pool with nine points, leading Australia on goal difference.