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England's hockey team beaten again by Australia

2009 Men's Champions Trophy
Venue: Melbourne, Australia Dates: 28 November to 6 December
Coverage: Highlights and match reports on the BBC Sport website

England's hockey players lose again to Australia

England remain without a victory in the Champions Trophy as their miserable record against Australia continued with a 2-1 defeat in Melbourne.

They have not beaten Australia for 24 years and the Olympic bronze medallists sealed their 28th win in the last 33 meetings between the two old rivals.

England, who have now lost two games and drawn one in the event, went ahead through Iain Mackay after 13 minutes.

But Grant Schubert equalised and Des Abbott struck a 60th-minute winner.

England's preparations were not helped by the absence of top-scorer James Tindall, who was resting an injured foot.

After a scrappy opening in an excitable atmosphere at the State Netball Hockey Centre, England took the lead after a fluent passing move.

Dan Fox's pass to the middle found Reading midfielder Mackay surrounded by defenders but he turned cleverly and created the space for a low reverse stick effort into the unguarded goal, his fourth strike for England since making his debut against Germany in May.

We weren't at our best and yet were still very competitive and pushed Australia hard

England coach Dave Bunyan

The defending champions squandered seven penalty corners as they failed to hit the heights of their opening two matches, which yielded 4-0 and 7-2 wins over South Korea and the Netherlands respectively.

But England put them under pressure on occasions and will look back on two wasted penalty corners of their own late in the first half.

The Australians levelled the match when a corner was pulled out slightly to their right of the top of the circle, the straight ball eluded Fox outside his left foot where it found the stick of Schubert who deflected home from just outside the post.

Glenn Turner's powerful reverse stick effort was ruled out by the video umpire, much to the chagrin of the partisan crowd, but they were soon cheering again when Des Abbott's flick hit a post but rebounded straight to him and he slotted in the winner.

England assistant coach Dave Bunyan remained in positive mood and said: "Whilst we're obviously disappointed to lose the match we weren't at our best and yet were still very competitive and pushed Australia hard.

"We played well in spells and although we know that there are improvements to be made we're fairly happy with that."

Elsewhere, Seo Jong-ho scored two minutes from full-time to enhance South Korea's chances of reaching Sunday's final with a 2-1 win over the Netherlands.

And Germany ensured Spain's winless start to the tournament continued as Matthias Witthaus scored with a controversial last-minute goal.

His effort was initially ruled out by umpire Hamish Jamson, but Germany appealed to the video referee who then overturned the on-field official's decision.

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see also
England held to draw with Spain
29 Nov 09 |  Hockey
England lose to Germany in opener
28 Nov 09 |  Hockey
Hockey on the BBC
17 Aug 07 |  Hockey
Crista Cullen's guide to hockey
07 Aug 08 |  Hockey
Basic rules of hockey
05 Oct 05 |  Hockey

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