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Cape Town - The most unpopular people during the late match at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town on Tuesday night were the umpires, as Australia’s Hockeyroos and the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team drew 1-1 after the scores were level 0-0 at half-time of an ill-tempered clash.
Australia’s Anna Flanagan netted a penalty corner in the 51th minute when she went for the top shelf on brilliant South African goalkeeper Sanani Mangisa’s stick-side, but the blow was soon cancelled out by Jade Mayne’s tip-top deflection goal off Shelley Russell’s powerful cross from the right.
After 25 seconds Bernie Coston intercepted 40m out, burnt her markers and fed Sulette Damons, whose cross was nearly connected by the lurking Pietie Coetzee.
South Africa continued to dominate and after 11 minutes Quanita Bobbs struck wide of the far post. Australia finally broke away and Fiona Boyce could have scored had it not been for the fabulous form of Mangisa in goal.
South Africa hit back and on-song Hockeyroos goalkeeper Ashlee Wells made a couple of quality interventions before the Aussies again broke away and won a PC at the other end, with Jodie Schulz’s bullet just going wide.
Soon after, Australia were awarded another PC that South Africa did not agree with. First-wave Damons blocked it before yet another PC was saved by Mangisa.
The game became extremely tense as the South Africans and their supporters, plus the Australians to some extent, found fault with umpires Alwiene Sterk of The Netherlands and Emma Shelbourn of England. Another hotly contested PC went Australia’s way and Flanagan ripped a hard, low flick on the wrong side of the post.
The crowd went wild when Russell was repeatedly stick-checked on a remarkable 35m run and the cheer was immense when South Africa were awarded a PC, which the Aussie defence blocked.
The second half promised to be a humdinger - and it delivered. Coston broke away on a 40m run through the middle and was awarded an ultimately fruitless PC that drew protests from the bench as the South African was still in control and about to take on the keeper.
There was another howl of anger at a PC awarded to Australia at the other end, and this time Flanagan went high to Mangisa’s stick-side (1-0).
With 16 left Lisa Deetlefs cracked a cross into the strike zone and Coetzee’s delicate touch almost evaded Wells in goal. Then Australia lost a player to the sin-bin and the roof almost blew off the stadium as Coetzee forced a PC - but Wells was on-song once again.
The crowd erupted in the 59th minute when South Africa equalised after Shelley Russell cracked a cross from the right and Jade Mayne flashed her shot past a helpless keeper into the back of the net (1-1).
Coetzee (twice) and Chamberlain came close in the last five minutes, but it was not to be.