London 2012: Britain's men miss final after Australia draw

By Ollie WilliamsBBC Sport at the London Olympic Park

Great Britain's men missed a place in the final of the Olympic hockey test event after a lively 3-3 draw with Australia on the London 2012 pitch.

Needing a win to reach the final, GB made a great start through James Tindall and Richard Alexander but the Australians pegged them back each time.

Simon Orchard's second-half penalty stroke for Australia meant Ashley Jackson's late goal was not enough.

Britain will play India, a team they beat earlier in the week, for bronze.

"Any game against Australia, if we play up to our highest tempo, is going to be fiery. Every time you play them, their intensity is so high," GB captain Glenn Kirkham told BBC Sport.

"On the whole, if we're holding the world number one to 3-3 in a game like that, there are positives to take from it."

Tindall put hosts Britain ahead from a penalty corner, but Matt Gohdes' smart strike levelled the scores in an enjoyable and open first half.

Alexander's rocket put world number four Britain back ahead, but Olympic bronze medallists Australia equalised on the stroke of half-time as a deflection went through goalkeeper James Fair's legs and was tapped in by Jason Wilson.

In Wednesday's game against Germany, Britain failed to return punctually after the break and the Germans scored with only a handful of Brits having returned to the pitch.

This time, Britain came back for the second half in body but not spirit, as Australia ratcheted up the pressure with a series of penalty corners won all too easily.

Fair pulled off a couple of excellent saves, including one using his helmet, before Orchard's clinical penalty stroke sent Australia in front for the first time.

Jackson's penalty corner hauled Britain back on level terms with just four minutes remaining, but time ran out for a winner.

"It's a strange one," said Kirkham of his side's tendency to lose momentum after half-time in each of their three group games.

"We've been in different positions every time. When you're playing against those top teams, the way they play is so in-your-face that there's no chance to drop off your pace and perhaps we found that hard. But it's all preparation. We'll be at our physical best when we come to the Olympics."

Goalscorer Tindall said: "A few years ago we'd have taken a draw but we're frustrated that we could have pushed on and won the game."

Australia meet Germany in the men's final at 1830 BST on Sunday, following the GB-India clash at 1545. GB's women play Argentina in their final at 1215.

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