SOUTH Korea have beaten the Black Sticks men 4-3 today in the deciding match of their five test series at Lloyd Elsmore Hockey Stadium in Pakuranga, Auckland.
Following two Black Sticks victories last weekend, Korea won the third and fourth tests to leave it all square going into today’s final test of the series.
Black Sticks men’s captain Dean Couzins said his team’s error rate was the difference between the two sides today.
“With a lack of basic skills you can’t impose yourself on a game. You start to build a bit and then you’re making too many errors. It’s the taking two steps forward and one back scenario.”
Despite the series loss, Couzins felt they were still on track for the London Olympics.
“What you’ll see at the Olympics is a really close competition and we need to be on the right side of those close results and we were at the Champions Trophy.
“We’ll need to do a lot of hard work between now and then, and our basic skills will need to be a lot better.”
Korea started the way they finished yesterday as they went 1-0 up after six minutes with a penalty corner goal to Jong Jang. James Coughlan and goalscorer Nick Wilson combined a few minutes later to equalise for the Black Sticks.
Korea claimed back the lead with just over 10 minutes to go in the first half following some classy passing up field which Hyo You finished off.
In the second spell, an early Andy Hayward drag flick gave the home side some confidence but it wasn’t long before Korea were back in front.
With just under 15 minutes to go, their highly successful penalty corner combination was to the fore again with a drag flick goal. The visitors put the result beyond doubt with a field goal with five minutes left on the clock.
A penalty corner goal from Shea McAleese right on full time was too little too late for the Black Sticks.
Hawke’s Bay is the principal partner of the Black Sticks men and women.
Full time: 4-3 (Korea win)
Half time: 2-1 (Korea lead)
New Zealand goal scorers: Nick Wilson, Andy Hayward, Shea McAleese