Bronze medal match: Australia vs Great Britain 3-1 (half-time: 1-1)
Australia claimed their sixth bronze medal in their men’s Olympic history as their all-out aggression eventually wore down hosts Great Britain in the third place playoff, the penultimate match of the London Games. Close range rebounds from Jamie Dwyer and Kieran Govers saw them over the line after Simon Orchard’s thunderbolt was counteracted by Iain Lewers’ corner goal.
It meant the kookaburras finished third for the fourth time in five Games while 1988 remains the last time GB were on the medal podium. Throughout, Australia were the side to force the issue, their swarming forwards pressurising the home defence into a series of mistakes but they proved profligate in converting circle entries into clean chances.
They were almost caught on the counter-attack, though, as Dan Fox’s excellent diagonal overhead found Barry Middleton. He chose to angle a pass to the back post rather than shoot himself, allowing Timothy Deavin the chance to intercept. Australia did hit the front in the 18th minute when Simon Orchard smashed home his 39th international goal, working his way through a tackle into the circle before unleashing a furious strike through James Fair’s desperate dive.
Richard Smith was needed to hustle another effort out of the goalmouth moments later but GB hit back when Harry Martin barreled through a couple of tackles to win his side’s first penalty corner. They chose a sweet option with Ashley Jackson firing the ball back to the injector Iain Lewers who swept home first time, leaving the tie 1-1 at the break.
The green and golds kept their philosophy for the second period, Glenn Turner and Deavin combining well to draw a good near post save from Fair. Matt Daly’s near post effort thudded off Nathan Burgers pads in a brief bit of respite before Australia started to turn the screw. The second of three video-aided penalty corners found its way in from Dwyer as Govers’ drag-flick popped up invitingly at the second attempt.
Two more corners went incomplete but Govers grabbed the clincher as a Dwyer punch-shot again rebounded perfectly and the Aussie volleyed home. GB finished with a big final push but Burgers was never truly tested and their wait for a medal continues for another four years.
For more information on AUS vs GBR, click here
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