Shootout hero Pinner ‘happy to contribute’

Goalkeeper George Pinner was delighted to have the “opportunity to contribute” as his saves earned Great Britain a bonus point after a shootout win over Australia.

The giant goalkeeper saved twice, from Blake Govers and Daniel Beale, ensuring a 4-3 shootout win after the two sides had drawn 2-2 in normal time.

“Let’s be honest, if you don’t like a shootout as a goalie, there’s probably something wrong with you.” beamed Pinner.

Great Britain v Spain (RR)

Credit: Frank Uijlenbroek

“It’s much more about skill than the old style strokes. It didn’t go our way against Spain a few weeks ago so it was good to win this one. And it’s a nice feeling to come in and have the opportunity to contribute to an extra bonus point.”

Great Britain were first to strike and took the lead in the first quarter. Brendan Creed picked out Alan Forsyth inside the circle and his turn and shot was deflected past the goalkeeper by Zach Wallace. Australia levelled things up in the 12th minute, however as Jake Harvie provided an expert finish, deflecting the ball in at the near post.

Great Britain threatened to re-take the lead in the second quarter with Adam Dixon twice denied by Tyler Lovell from penalty corners. GB’s third penalty corner of the quarter yielded their second goal. Dixon’s behind-the-back pass was converted well by Chris Griffiths for his 19th international goal.

Australia won a penalty corner immediately afterwards but Jeremy Hayward’s flick was picked off the line brilliantly by Sam Ward, preserving the lead at half time.

The Kookaburras stepped up the pressure in the third quarter and had it not been for George Pinner making two fine saves from point blank range Great Britain could easily have found themselves behind.

“Danny [Kerry] keeps telling me to stay big. I took two or three off the facemask in the first few minutes after coming on.” said Pinner.

“I like playing the second half, the crunch end of the game. It’s good to be involved in those periods. It was good to make a couple of saves, I’m disappointed not to keep a clean sheet but overall I’m pretty happy.”

There was nothing Pinner could do to keep out Tim Brown in the 36th minute as he levelled the scores from close range to set up a tense final quarter.

Sam Ward, who had an outstanding game seemed to be on a personal crusade to find the winner in the final 15 minutes but despite his, and Great Britain’s efforts there was no way through and the game went to a shootout.

Pinner denied Blake Govers and Daniel Beale to allow Great Britain to take a 4-3 shootout win and a bonus point.

Afterwards, Pinner refused to get carried away, telling The Top of the D:

“The target is to be on top of the podium. To win a gold medal. Therefore, anyone above or below us is a team we have to beat. Australia are a great side and they play hard so they’re always a team we have to play well against. Having said that all the Pro League games have been hard, there are no easy teams in this competition.”

“We’re trying to avoid talking about the grand final. You hear us in tournaments talking about the next game and the process. If you start to focus on the finals you drop off. We’ll be focussed on the next two games; we’ll target six points as always and see where that leaves us.”

About thetopofthed

Columnist for The Hockey Paper and the man behind The Top of the D. Writer, podcaster, goalkeeper and BBC Sport man. Used to work for Great Britain Hockey and have covered the sport at every major tournament.
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