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Black Sticks go down in Clareville thriller

By Jake Beleski

[email protected]

New Zealand 1 Pakistan 2

Pakistan head into tonight’s fifth and final hockey test match with the Black Sticks knowing a win or draw will be enough to secure the series.

A first-half double by captain Abdul Haseem Khan was enough to secure a 2-1 win in the fourth match at Clareville last night, giving the visitors an unassailable two games to one lead in the series.

All the goals were scored in the first half, as Pakistan defended desperately over the final stages as the Black Sticks searched for an equaliser.

The first quarter was tight with the action swinging from end to end at a rapid pace.

Neither side were able to dominate with the ball but it was Pakistan who opened the scoring when their captain, Abdul Haseem Khan, deflected a shot into the back of the goal.

New Zealand responded quickly in the second quarter, taking less than two minutes to open their account.

The goal came courtesy of Jonty Keaney who got on the end of some good work by Harry Miskimmin to score the Black Sticks’ first goal.

Pakistan’s captain was in the thick of it again six minutes later, directing another deflection past Kiwi keeper George Enersen to snatch the initiative back for his side.

New Zealand pushed hard for an equaliser before the break, but Pakistan’s defence held firm to maintain the advantage.

The third quarter saw Pakistan awarded two penalty corners, but New Zealand’s defence was up to the challenge, unlike the third test which saw Pakistan score three second half goals from penalty corners.

New Zealand had plenty of opportunities to tie the match, but some poor finishing and quality Pakistan defence ensured they got the crucial victory.

The fifth and final match is at Clareville once again, starting at 6.30pm tonight.

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