Hockey: Bennett strikes to keep Athens hopes alive

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The Independent Online

Anna Bennett, with a 52nd-minute scrambled goal after a mêlée in the circle, gave Britain their first win in the Olympic qualifying tournament in Auckland yesterday as they beat the Ukraine 1-0.

Anna Bennett, with a 52nd-minute scrambled goal after a mêlée in the circle, gave Britain their first win in the Olympic qualifying tournament in Auckland yesterday as they beat the Ukraine 1-0.

It was an unconvincing victory against a country that has just six clubs and two artificial pitches. Nevertheless, it kept alive Britain's slim chances of qualification for Athens should they make it to the semi-finals.

First, however, they must win by a significant margin against Ireland - who drew 1-1 with Germany yesterday - in their last pool match today and hope the New Zealand v Germany match does not end in a draw. Otherwise their Athens appearance will hinge on success in their last two "must win" cross-over games at the end of the week.

"We are playing with little thought," said Tricia Heberle, Britain's team leader. "There are quite a few things I am unhappy about."

Spain secured their place in the semi-finals and with it qualification for Athens after a 1-0 win over Japan.

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