GB edge past New Zealand

Cullen strike keeps qualification hopes alive

Last Updated: 14/08/08 4:15pm

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Women still in the hunt in Beijing

Women still in the hunt in Beijing

Great Britain's women kept their medal hopes alive with a gutsy 2-1 victory over New Zealand at the Olympic Green Hockey Stadium.

Crista Cullen got the all-important winning goal for GB, who registered their first win of the games - eliminating New Zealand from the competition in the process.

However, with just four points and two matches remaining in Pool B, Britain must win both and hope defending champions and group leaders Germany do them a favour against Argentina on Saturday.

The game did not start well for GB, who came from 2-0 down to draw with Argentina last time out, as in the first minute Kayla Sharland won a penalty corner but the defence repelled the danger.

Britain's first shot came in the seventh minute when Cannock forward Charlotte Craddock's reverse-stick shot was palmed away by goalkeeper Beth Jurgeleit.

Immediately down the other end GB keeper Beth Storry had to be quick to close down Niniwa Roberts' strike.

Britain's first penalty corner came in the 16th minute but Cullen's flick was saved and the follow-up from Slough's Kate Walsh was weak.

Flynn strike

New Zealand did not make the same mistake from a 28th-minute set-piece, Elizabeth Igasan's strike trickling off Storry's pads to Gemma Flynn who had a simple tap-in.

The lead lasted three minutes before Leicester midfielder Helen Richardson and Olton's Lucilla Wright combined on the right, with Craddock helping on the cross for Slough's Alex Danson to volley home.

GB thought they had scored from a penalty corner in time added after the first half hooter when Cullen slipped the ball back to club-mate Anne Panter to slap home but the umpire ruled she had illegally hit the ball.

Cullen made sure she got her name on the scoresheet 15 minutes after the interval, placing a low flick into the bottom corner after Canterbury defender Mel Clewlow had dummied a shot at the top of the circle.

New Zealand won two penalty corners in succession in the 58th minute, however GB hung on to clinch a precious victory.

Great Britain head coach Danny Kerry said: "I am delighted, not only with the result but also with the manner we won.

"In the second half I felt we played well and generated a lot of opportunities."

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