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Men's hockey semi-final: Australia 3 England 2

Dan Beale’s controversial fourth quarter winner sent Australia through the men’s hockey gold medal match at England’s expense.

England players stand dejected at the final whistle after defeat to Australia at the University of Birmingham Hockey and Squash Centre on day nine of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Picture date: Saturday August 6, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story COMMONWEALTH Hockey. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire...RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder..
England players stand dejected at the final whistle after defeat to Australia at the University of Birmingham Hockey and Squash Centre on day nine of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Picture date: Saturday August 6, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story COMMONWEALTH Hockey. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire...RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder..

The home nation gave the six-time champions a huge scare when they went 2-0 up at the University of Birmingham through Phillip Roper’s goal and a penalty stroke from skipper Zach Wallace.

But Australia, unbeaten in the Commonwealth Games since 1998, drew level through Blake Govers and Jacob Anderson, before Beale got the winner with 10 minutes to go.

England’s players were left fuming after requesting a review of the goal, claiming the ball had not been stopped on a free hit in the build-up.

Though video replays, shown on the big screen, appeared to confirm that, the video referee stayed with the on-field decision, much to the anger of most of the crowd.

England pushed hard for a leveller to no avail, Wolverhampton’s Nick Bandurak seeing a penalty corner cleared off the line.

The odds were stacked against England but they made a confident start, forcing three early penalty corners, the last of which saw former Telford and Wrekin player David Goodfield squeeze a shot agonisingly wide.

Australia were struggling to find a rhythm but this was a night when goalkeeper Oliver Payne needed to be on his game and he was in those early stages, keeping out Jeremy Haward’s penalty corner with his pads and then making another excellent stop to deny Govers soon after.

Still, pressure was building before England stunned the champions to take the lead on the counter attack. Wallace picked out Roper running through and his finish, from the right-hand side of the D, went between the legs of Aussie keeper Andrew Charter.

Australia looked rattled and things got worse for them when Jake Whetton was shown a yellow card for blocking David Condon. From the penalty corner, Bandurak’s goalbound effort was blocked on the line by a defender and when the Australian’s failed with a review of the decision to award a penalty stroke, skipper Wallace fired into the bottom corner to double the lead.

Suddenly the six-time champions needed a foothold and they got one with three minutes remaining in the half, Govers striking home from a penalty corner after Tim Brand had earlier been denied by Payne.

England suffered a blow early in the second half when William Calnan was shown a yellow card for dissent. Thomas Sorsby then saw a green card as the home nation were reduced to nine for two minutes as Australia began to turn up the heat.

They came a whisker from equalising when first Nathan Ephramus and then Jake Whetton were unable to turn home a cross at the far post.

Despite dominating possession and territory, the Australian’s were struggling to make their numerical superiority count, Aran Zalewski firing over seconds before Calnan was allowed to return to the action.

But with just under two minutes to go in the third quarter, England’s resistance was finally broken, Jacob Anderson finishing off a flowing move to level.

England began the fourth quarter brightly, David Condon just failing to make contact with the ball from a couple of yards out.

It was Australia, however, who went in front, Beale converting from close range and the goal allowed to stand following the review.

England pushed hard, Bandurak’s effort cleared off the line by Flynn Ogilvie, before Wallace’s shot was saved by the boot of Charter.

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