Sunday 2 June 2019 | The Hockeyroos overcame a sluggish start to defeat China 3-2 and move into third place on the FIH Pro League standings on Sunday in Changzhou, China.
Trailing by a goal at half time, a trio of second half goals ensured that the three points would be going the way of the visitors.
The result sees Australia move into third place on the standings with twenty-four points from twelve matches, overtaking Belgium.
China started the match with a series of attacking forays, and it wasn’t long until Chen Yi opened the scoring with a delicate tap past goalkeeper Rachael Lynch.
Australia were on the back foot for much of the play leading into half time, with only a handful of chances generated but not converted.
Jocelyn Bartram made a crucial save in the 21st minute to deny the hosts a second goal, reaching high and to her left to make the save.
The hosts led the way in all the major stats at the half time break: Shots (9-2), circle entries (17-5), and penalty corners (4-1).
Australia won a series of penalty corners in the third quarter, and after two unsuccessful attempts, Maddy Fitzpatrick was able to fire in the equalising goal in the last minute before three-quarter time.
Emily Chalker scored in the 49th minute with a touch on the line from a Savannah Fitzpatrick shot which was fired past the goalkeeper Peng Yang.
That goal further lifted the spirits of the Australians, who all of a sudden had turned the tables and were making the attacking runs.
Another penalty corner went China’s way in the 54th minute, but the unsuccessful attempt was quickly turned into a goal at the other end by Rosie Malone who pounced on a loose ball directly in front of the goalkeeper.
Xu Wenyu converted a late penalty corner with just over a minute to play, setting up a tense finish.
However, the Australians were able to safely negotiate the remaining seconds and secure the victory.
Coach Paul Gaudoin said that while it wasn’t the start they were after, he was pleased with the comeback.
“It was a very difficult match in pretty tough conditions here in China,” he said post-match.
“Credit to the girls, they fought back in the second half, created some chances, started to get some belief and were able to manage a win which was pleasing.”
He pointed out that improvement would be needed once the European leg starts on Sunday.
“We know we’re going to need to be better against Great Britain in London in a week’s time – but it’s great to fight and grind out a win.”
The Hockeyroos’ next match is against Great Britain in London on Sunday 9 June.
China 2 (Chen 14′, Xu 59′)
Australia 3 (M Fitzpatrick 45′, Chalker 49′, Malone 56′)