Penalty heartbreak for England and Hinch as semi-final defeat means battle for bronze

Maddie Hinch in action at the Commonwealth Games against New Zealand in the women's hockey semi-final
Maddie Hinch in action at the Commonwealth Games against New Zealand in the women's hockey semi-final

Maddie Hinch will have to fight it out for a bronze medal as England's women suffered penalty heartbreak in the semi-finals of the hockey at the Commonwealth Games.

The last-four match on the Australian Gold Coast, which started at 10am BST, saw New Zealand progress to the gold-medal final with a 2-1 victory in a shoot-out.


After a tight match that ended 0-0, it went to penalties and Hinch, while making a number of stops, was unable to produce her previous match-winning heroics, that has heralded previous medals and shoot-out successes.


England, who achieved a bronze medal in Glasgow in 2014, will now have fight it out in the third-placed play-off against the losing side from the other semi-final between Australia and India.


It all went down to the final penalty and Olympic gold winner Hinch, who produced a stunning save in the final seconds of the game to force a shoot-out, was beaten by New Zealand's stand-out player Stacey Michelsen.


Alex Danson's opening penalty was saved by the face of substitute goalkeeper Grace O'Hanlon, who came on for the shoot-out, before Hinch then blocked Samantha Charlton out.
Sophie Bray was then denied by O'Hanlon and Liz Thompson put wide next to a falling Hinch.


Hannah Martin then put England 1-0 ahead, before Natalie Harrison levelled up


Anna Toman's next effort for England was saved by O'Hanlon, before Hinch blocked out Ella Gunson's attempt, which stood despite a New Zealand review.


In the final penalties, Hollie Pearne-Webb's effort was saved by a strong hand and Michelsen the lifted the ball over Hinch to send New Zealand through to the gold medal match.


The clash was a repeat of the Glasgow semi-final, in which England emerged 3-1 victors in a penalty shoot-out after the match ended in a tight 1-1 draw.


New Zealand came into the match having finished second in Group B after a 6-1 win over Scotland and 12-0 triumph over Ghana, before two 0-0 draws with Canada and Australia.

England had topped Group A with a 2-0 win over South Africa, 5-1 victory against Wales and 3-0 success over Malaysia as well as a 2-1 loss to India.


Hinch was called upon in the first minute after a sweeping New Zealand move.The goalkeeper got a strong glove on a Michelsen effort from a good probing run from Anita McLaren.


Hinch got a boot on another shot, before in England's first meaningful attack, Danson earnt a penalty corner for a foot on the ball midway through the half.


Suzannah Petty's three atempts at injections were blocked away but the New Zealand players, and on the final attempt a high ball was given and a free out.


Another New Zealand break saw Hinch again called into action, but she produced another smart save to get he ball up and over the top of the bar.


With four minutes to go in the first quarter, England won another penalty corner, but Laura Unsworth's effort sailed over the bar.


In a second period which New Zealand controlled in possession, yet struggled to turn into pressure on goal, the first time Hinch was called into action saw her palm away a high shot with just over four minutes left to play.


In the third quarter, the best chance to open the scoring went England's way from a short corner. With just two and a half minutes left to play, Pearne-Webb's effort came off the inside stick of Brooke Neal and round the post.


Hinch then got a high hand on a Michelsen snapshot, before a moment of controversy when the ball ended up in the England net after it appeared to come off a Pearne-Webb foot, but while the goal was disallowed, a penalty corner was not given for use of the foot.


Early in the final quarter, England cleared off the line from a penalty corner and Hinch blocked the follow up to keep the score at 0-0. Hinch then made a sensational stop with two seconds left in the game to send it to a penalty shoot-out.


England will now face the bronze medal play-off in the early hours of Saturday morning.