The Vantage Black Sticks Men and Spain have played out an entertaining 3-3 draw at North Harbour Hockey Stadium. The Black Sticks looked to be heading for the win before 2 late goals to Spain tied the match up. Spain would go on to win the penalty shootout with some clinical shots.
The Black Sticks Men lined up for what was going to be an incredibly tough match against the ever-improving Spanish Men who have already beaten the Netherlands and Belgium in the FIH Pro League.
The Spanish side looked to put the Black Sticks on the back foot from the start and that’s what they did when Pau Quemada found himself in space at the top of the circle and rocketed a shot past Richard Joyce. The Black Sticks then found their feet in the match and earned their first penalty corner of the match. Unfortunately, Cory Bennett’s drag flick went just wide of the goal. Despite the attacking opportunities it was Spain who ended the first quarter up 1-0.
Spain started the 2ndquarter strongly and earned the first penalty corner of the period. Richard Joyce stood up tall and kept the ball out of the goal. New Zealand then moments later put a great ball into the circle that Jared Panchia deflected past the goalkeeper. The Vantage Black Sticks were playing with more confidence and earned a penalty corner late in the second period. The Spanish goalkeeper managed to pull off a fantastic stick save to deny the Black Sticks. Despite an attacking game of hockey, the two sides couldn’t be separated at the half we were tied at 1 goal apiece.
The Black Sticks Men took the front for the first time in the game when a massive overhead from the defensive 25 found an open Stephen Jenness in the circle who then powered it past the Spain goalkeeper making it 2-1 to the Vantage Black Sticks. Spain looked to get the equaliser and put some long crash balls into the Black Sticks circle looking to unnerve the Black Sticks defence. Richard Joyce was proving to be very active in goal and kept the Black Sticks in the lead 2-1. The Black Sticks extended their lead midway through the 3rdquarter when Aidan Sarikaya found him open in the circle and he swept a reverse shot home. The Black Sticks finished the quarter with a 3-1 lead heading into the final quarter.
Starting the 4thquarter on the back foot with Nic Woods in the penalty bin the Black Sticks looked to consolidate and hold possession which was frustrating the Spanish side. Spain earned a penalty corner midway through the 4thquarter. Richard Joyce made the initial save however Marc Miralles was there to put the ball in the back of the net. Spain then found the equaliser when a break down in communication gave Pau Quemada his second goal of the evening. Despite the flurry of goals neither side was able to break the deadlock and we went into a shootout to decide the match.
Vantage Black Sticks 3 (Jared Panchia 22’, Stephen Jenness 34’, Dylan Thomas 38’)
Spain 3 (Pau Quemada 1’ 53’, Marc Miralles 53’)