Author: Nic Kerber
The Hockeyroos have one foot in the door to Tokyo 2020 after a 4-2 win over Russia in Match 1 of the two-match qualifying series in Perth this afternoon.
A double to co-captain Emily Chalker plus goals to Amy Lawton and Grace Stewart ensured the Hockeyroos head into tomorrow’s second match in poll position.
However it was not all smooth sailing as Russia scored twice to equalise, but the Hockeyroos’ class shone out in the end and they now just need to not lose by a bigger margin tomorrow.
Entering the match as hot favourites and carrying the expectation that comes with the favourites tag, any of the Hockyroos’ nerves were erased after less than 60 seconds as Chalker scored from the home side’s first foray forward.
A minute later it became even better when Lawton made it 2-0 after as many minutes.
Despite the Hockeyroos having the better of the second quarter the score remained 2-1 going into half time.
Looking to extend their advantage, the Hockeyroos suffered a sucker punch in the 37th minute as Alina Khalimova converted from a penalty corner to level it up.
However any tension among the Hockeyroos fans only lasted a minute as Stewart trapped, turned and smashed the ball in to seize back control.
Chalker then sealed the result in the final quarter after a scramble in the Russian goal as she was on the spot to tuck the ball away next to the right post.
A reverse shot from Mariah Williams went inches away from adding a fifth in the 53rd minute, the Hockeyroos needing to be content with a 4-2 victory.
Match 2 is at 7pm AWST (10pm AEDT) tomorrow after the Sultana Bran Hockey One double header between Perth Thundersticks and NSW Pride.
Hockeyroos 4 (Chalker 1’/48’, Lawton 2’, Stewart 38’)
Russia 2 (Sadovaia 8’, Khalimova 37’)
Perth Hockey Stadium at Curtin University, WA