17 Mar 2016

Black Sticks draw with Korea

6:21 am on 17 March 2016

A flurry of second half goals have helped the Black Sticks Men secure a 3-3 draw against Korea in the first of four tests at Lloyd Elsmore Hockey Stadium in Auckland.

Black Sticks veteran Simon Child.

Black Sticks captain Simon Child Photo: Getty Images

Korea scored three unanswered goals to open a handy buffer before a brilliant fightback from New Zealand saw them equalise with just five seconds remaining in the game.

It was a special outing for captain Simon Child who brought up his 250th test cap in front of a vocal home crowd.

Head coach Colin Batch said it was disappointing to let Korea get ahead by three goals but the determination to fight until the final whistle was pleasing.

"Korea had one goal shot and two corners in the first half so their conversion was very good, but we know they are traditionally strong at corners," he said.

"We were very composed even that far down, it's not easy to come from behind but we played collectively and there are some good positives there.

"In this game alone we had a lot of different challenges thrown at us and ultimately that will help our progression towards Rio."

Korea were first to strike in the 20th minute after capitalising on the opening penalty corner of the game when Dong Hyeon Yoon deflected in from the left post.

The visitors extended their lead five minutes later from another penalty corner, this time Jihun Yang putting a flick past the outstretched leg of goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex.

Leading 2-0 at halftime, Korea pushed their advantage out to three goals early in the second half with another corner conversion from Yang.

Following the goal momentum swung New Zealand's way and the pressure poured onto the Korean defence.

Defender Kane Russell finally got the Black Sticks on the scoreboard in the 35th minute after putting a precision flick into the bottom of the goal.

Late in the third quarter Nick Wilson pegged another one back after muscling into the circle and hitting a loose ball past the grounded keeper.

Then five seconds from fulltime striker Blair Hilton smashed home a bouncing ball to equalise and secure the draw.