Hockey: Hosts exposed by superior finishing power: England men see early lead overhauled and Britain's women miss their chances

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The Independent Online
England. . . .2

Australia. . .5

IN A fiercely competitive and at times physcial encounter England and Australia entertained a large crowd on the artificial turf at Reading yesterday with the visitors showing superior finishing to run out convincing winners.

England took the lead after five minutes with a goal by Rob Thompson. After some initial sparring Don Williams cut in from the right wing and although the goalkeeper, Lachlan Dreher, blocked his shot, the ball rebounded to Thompson, who swivelled and beat the off-balance Dreher.

Australia equalised from a ninth-minute penalty after Williams had been temporarily suspended, Jay Stacy switching the ball for Lachlan Elmer to score. Three minutes later, Stacy put Australia in the lead and midway through the half collected a glorious ball from Stephen Davies to score his second and Australia's third. Within a minute, Elmer made it 4-1 from Australia's third penalty corner award.

A 30th-minute penalty-corner award to England gave Rob Hill the first chance to show his corner prowess which he did with a powerful drag shot to the roof of the net. England battled in the second half, with Julian Halls having a fine game in defence, but their sporadic counter-attacks were cumbersome and inadequate to upset the Australian machine.

Sean Rowlands, a second-half substitution, made a promising return to the international scene, having been missing since last summer's Olympics, but he was unable to prevent Paul Lewis adding his name to the scoresheet in the 58th minute.

ENGLAND: D Luckes (East Grinstead); J Halls (Old Loughtonians), R Hill (Havant), P Bolland, S Hazlitt (both Hounslow); R Garcia (Havant), J Potter (Hounslow, capt), J Laslett (Teddington); D Williams (Havant), R Welch (Southgate), R Thompson (Hounslow). Substitutes used: S Rowlands (Havant), J Lee (East Grinstead), Soma Singh (Southgate), P McGuire (Teddington).

AUSTRALIA: L Dreher; K Wark, S Carruthers; W Birmingham (capt), D Wansbrough, L Elmer; L Bodimeade, J Stacy, M Hager, S Davies, P Lewis. Substitutes used: J Elmer, M York, A Carey.

Umpires: M Graham (England) and R Rideout (Australia).

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