Former Trojans star Alex Danson misses in penalty shoot-out as Australia beat England to Commonwealth Games gold in dramatic final

ALEX DANSON

ALEX DANSON

First published in Sport

England failed to make it a shoot-out double as favourites Australia claimed Commonwealth Games hockey gold after a dramatic women’s final at Glasgow Green.

Lily Owsley had put England ahead midway through the second half but Jodie Kenny levelled the game at 1-1 with just 17 seconds remaining.

The English, who beat New Zealand in a shoot-out in the semi-finals, could not repeat their heroics though as Southampton-born former Trojans star Alex Danson, Susie Gilbert and Nicola White all failed to beat Aussie keeper Madonna Blyth as they lost 3-1.

England captain Kate Richardson-Walsh said: “'I’m devastated. Taking it that close and losing is heartbreaking. I’ve played enough games to know about last-minute equalisers.”

She is considering retirement, and added: “I have to go and take some time to consider what’s best for me and the team.”

Richardson-Walsh could still find positives to take away from Glasgow, saying: “It has honestly been amazing. The fans have been great. It’s one of the best pitches I’ve ever played on. Without a doubt before coming to the Games I knew Glasgow was going to be amazing.”

Australia forward Georgina Parker said: “We had all the shots and possession. They only had one from one so once we scored we knew we’d win.

“We’re pretty confident with our one-versus-ones and we’ve got the best goalkeeper in the world. We have a great videography team and studied the penalties. Anyone in our team could have taken a penalty really.”

In the end, only Georgie Twigg netted for England as World Cup runners-up Australia claimed their third straight Commonwealth title to leave many of the England players in tears.

White said: “It’s just so frustrating because we were so close to winning.

“We got a goal up but did not sit back – we pushed on looking for more. So to lose it in the last minute is devastating.

“I'm really gutted because I was so close to scoring in the shoot-out. I got round the keeper but the ball was slipping away and couldn't get my stick on it. If I'd done that, we might have had a chance.”

Before the match, the odds on the women's side even taking the game to the one-on-one decider would have been vast considering their opponents' ruthless form in the run up to the final.

Australia had rattled in an astonishing 32 goals - including three in a pool-stage win over their final opponents - while South Africa's lone score in a 7-1 semi-final thrashing was the Hockeyroos' only blemish.

But after a goalless opening half, Owsley handed her side a surprise lead 15 minutes into the second period.

Jayde Taylor had done well to stop Twigg's cross from the left, but when Danson robbed her of possession, the ball fell kindly to Owsley who netted with a cool finish.

England had to soak up some heavy pressure throughout the match but defended stoically to frustrate their opponents.

However, the pressure finally told in the final minute. The Australians were allowed to retake a penalty corner after Owsley broke the line early and they made it count when Kenny rammed home with time almost up.

Defeat was another disappointment for a side who could only finish 11th at this summer's World Cup.

White added: ''We felt confident going into the game after beating New Zealand. We had also played really well against Australia in the group stage, even though we lost 3-0.

''And we were feeling great after taking the lead. I wouldn't say we were lacking confidence before the shoot-out, we just came up against a really good keeper.

''A few of the girls were upset afterwards but they will be okay in time. It's just a bit raw right now. It's a horrible way to lose a match.''

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