OLYMPICS / Barcelona 1992: Hockey: Sixsmith nets the bronze

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The Independent Online
Great Britain. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

South Korea. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

(after extra time; score at 80min 3-3)

'VICTORY belongs to the persevering,' were the words of the British coach, Dennis Hay, after his side's courageous victory in extra time against the Seoul silver medallists, South Korea, here yesterday to take the bronze medal.

As magnificent as the performance was, if at times careless, it was a highly entertaining game characterised by the brilliance of Jane Sixsmith and the dogged determination of Wendy Fraser winning her 100th Great Britain cap and making her last international appearance.

Fraser said after the game: 'Terrific win - a dream come true,' while Sixsmith's joy was dimmed by the knowledge that her boyfiend, Tim, had had to leave for the airport at half-time. He had, however, been present to see her first equalising goal, probably the best of the Olympic tournament.

Britain demonstrated their usual opening aggression and poor finishing as they bore down on the Korean goal, only to go a goal down in the fourth minute following Korea's first counter-attack. Britain's defence was caught in a tangle, Helen Morgan failed to clear her lines and Young Mi Ro slotted the ball home.

The sheer brilliance of Sixsmith retrieved the situation for Britain within three minutes. Latching on to a through ball from Sandie Lister, the Sutton Coldfield striker out-manoeuvred two Korean defenders in a 20-yard dash and rounded the on-rushing goalkeeper to slam the ball into the net - an unbelievable goal to put Britain back into the game.

Sixsmith's strong running created chances for Mary Nevill and Fraser, but both were reluctant to shoot. The Koreans, however, were willing to shoot on sight and were rewarded with a second goal after 17 minutes when Eun-Jung Chang dived forward to deflect Chang Sook Kwon's free hit from just outside the circle past Morgan.

Fraser was instrumental in winning Britain's first two penalty corners of the game three minutes into the second half, but their unimaginative drill caused the Korean defence little trouble.

Fraser won a penalty stroke in the ninth minute of the half which Kath Johnson converted to put Britain on terms again, while within seconds she was to deflect a Korean corner around the post with the goalkeeper well beaten.

The arrival of Mandy Nicholls alongside Sixsmith gave Britain greater thrust with the Ealing forward winning Britain's fifth penalty corner from which Sue Fraser, with a deft lob, put Britain ahead for the first time. Within minutes Kyoung Hei Lee punished a hesitant British defence at a penalty corner to restore equality and force extra time, which Britain had feared with temperatures in the high eighties.

The winning goal came 12 minutes into the first period of extra time. After surviving a series of Korean assaults, Britain went ahead at their first penalty corner in extra time in the 82nd minute. Sixsmith, the pusher-out, received the ball back on the slip to loft it into the net and round off a stupendous performance.

GREAT BRITAIN: H Morgan (Swansea); J Atkins (Bradford), S Fraser (Glasgow Western), K Johnson (Leicester), J McWilliams (Randalstown), A Ramsay (Glasgow Western), K Brown (Slough), S Lister (Ipswich), W Fraser (Glasgow Western), J Sixsmith (Sutton Coldfield), M Nevill (Leicester, capt). Substitutes: M Nicholls (Ealing) for Brown, 44; L Bayliss (Sutton Coldfield) for S Fraser, 58; V Dixon (Ipswich) for Atkins, 75.

SOUTH KOREA: Jae Sook You; Gum Shil Han, Seon-Young Lee, Jeong Im Son, Chang Sook Kwon, Kyung Ah Kim (Mun Young Koo, 90), Eun-Jung Chang, Young Mi Ro, Kyoung Hei Lee, Gae Sook Lim (capt), Hea Sook Yang (Dong Sook Jang, 78).

Umpires: J Mohlmann (Neth), M Hernandez (Sp).

ELISABETH MARAGALL, a 21- year-old student, scored in extra time to give Spain a 2-1 victory over Germany in the women's hockey final, deflecting in a cross with a sprawling dive. It was the hosts' 11th gold medal of the Games.