Hockey bronze for GB women

  • Last Updated: August 10 2012, 23:26 BST

Great Britain's women secured only their second ever Olympic hockey bronze medal with a 3-1 win over New Zealand at the Riverbank Arena.

  • Team GB do a lap of honour after their victory
  • Alex Danson scored the opening goal of the match 
  • Crista Cullen doubled Great Britain's advantage 
  • Sarah Thomas flicked home the third to make the medal safe 

The squad showed impressive character to bounce back less than 48 hours after most of the players left the pitch emotionally distraught having lost a close semi-final to Argentina.

But the burden of expectation did not weigh heavy as, spurred on by a vociferous 16,000-strong crowd, they dominated the game against New Zealand - even if they had to wait until 10 minutes into the second half for their nerves to ease.

Reading striker Alex Danson scored her fifth of the tournament as she dived in to convert a well-practised penalty corner routine, Leicester defender Crista Cullen joined her on that tally with a set-piece of her own and Wales international Sarah Thomas rounded off the scoring from another corner move.

Even Stacey Michelsen's late goal failed to put a dampener on the party.

In the heat of mid-afternoon there was a lot of energy expended in the first half for not much return.

GB won two penalty corners, Cullen firing the first straight at Bianca Russell and flicking the second low to the keeper's right for her to turn behind.

New Zealand's only corner came in the last minute of the half but Charlotte Harrison deflected Clarissa Eshuis' pass.

Seconds after the break the hosts had a huge stroke of luck when Katie Glynn unintentionally deflected Cathryn Finlayson's cross through the legs of goalkeeper Beth Storry only for the ball to rebound off the post.

But GB were still dominating and they eventually got their reward 10 minutes into the half when Cullen's long aerial out of defence set Danson free on the right and her cross won a penalty corner.

This time they went to their alternative option of Kate Walsh and her pass was deflected in by the perfectly-timed dive of Danson.

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We pick out the best shots from day 14 of the London Olympics.

Sally Walton shot straight at Russell before GB finally ended New Zealand's resistance to secure victory in the last 11 minutes.

First Cullen flicked home a set-piece and then Walsh again provided the penalty corner pass for Wales international Sarah Thomas to divert in the third.

Michelsen popped up with a late consolation for the Kiwis, who recorded their highest Olympic finish, but by then the 16,000-capacity Riverbank Arena crowd were past caring.

Bronze equalled the feat of the team from 1992 in Barcelona and was the minimum target prior to the Olympics.

Walsh, who fractured her jaw in the opening match only to return six days later, said: "I've had a good long career, I said I wouldn't make any decisions immediately and I will have to sit on it and see how I feel.

"I still enjoy playing and I still feel fit - my body has held up brilliantly - and I think I am still improving so it is hard to turn your back on it.

"I am just still loving being part of the team."

Meanwhile Great Britain coach Danny Kerry believes his side would not have won a bronze medal had it not been for the criticism from players after the Beijing Olympics which left him considering quitting.

The 41-year-old said: "I learned from mistakes in the last cycle leading up to Beijing.

"I was a coach who was driven about understanding hockey better than the opposition coach and completely ignored your most important asset which was the players and staff.

"I just tried to defeat the world on hockey alone but it is the other stuff which sets you apart from other coaches.

"And if I had not had the experiences I had in Beijing we would not have won a medal here.

"It was a very tough review process. People told me a few home truths about my way of working and at the time I felt betrayed.

"I felt I'd given everything to everybody and people were anonymously saying things about me which I didn't feel were me at all.

"There was a point when I thought about walking away. I knew in my heart of hearts I wasn't the person they had written about.

"When people tell you the truth your first reaction is denial and anger so there was a real process of trying to understand myself better and therefore be able to work better with others.

"I didn't realise how essential that was until I tried to set about trying to do that with the girls as well.

"As a head coach I had to change and work better with everyone and then I started to see results so I thought 'Why not do it with the girls?' and that is why we are such a close group.

"People really do not understand the role of the head coach - they think it is about the hockey but that is a given."