ACE striker James Tindall hit his maiden hat-trick as England defeated New Zealand 5-3 to bounce back into the reckoning for a semi-final spot in the Commonwealth Games hockey here Saturday.
England, with seven points from three outings, moved to the top of Pool B while New Zealand were pushed to the second after suffering their first defeat in the tournament.
Tindall, 27, put England into the lead in the 7th minute before New Zealand levelled the score two minutes later when captain Phil Burrows converted a penalty in the crucial match at the Major Dhyan Chand stadium.
Tindall, a trained electrician from Surrey, showed his skill with the stick again in the 23rd minute with a powerful reverse flick after receiving a pass from Richard Alexander.
Full-back Richard Mantell made it 3-1 for England in the 30th minute before New Zealand hit back through Hayden Shaw who converted a penalty just a minute from the half-time hooter.
England surged to a 4-2 lead after the break off a Rob Moore penalty but New Zealand ran them close once again with Shaw scoring his second goal of the match in the 48th minute.
England were reduced to 10 men in the 64th minute after full-back Alastair Wilson was shown a yellow card for obstructing the ball, a decision hotly disputed by the player.
In-form Tindall then shut out New Zealand finally after hammering his third goal of the match from the top of the circle.
“It was my first hat-trick as a senior,” said Tindall. “I have scored 49 goals now, and I could have scored another one, but their keeper had an amazing save right at the end.
“It was hard, New Zealand just never give up. Their penalty corner was superb, and they were strong at the back and had some good tackles.” England take on South Africa and New Zealand play Canada on Sunday in their last league matches.
Shaw said the team needed to have more faith in their abilities.
“We got behind a bit early and then played more of a chasing game,” he said. We need to push hard. We must show more aggression in the circle. We need to get in a few more corners and believe in ourselves.
“Canada will be a tough side. If we give them a chance they’ll come hard, so we need to be prepared.”