Johannesburg - The South Africa men's hockey team beat Canada 7-3 in the playoff for fifth and sixth place at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow late on Saturday afternoon, after the scores were locked 2-2 at half-time.
Still without the seriously injured Andrew Cronje and Jonty Robinson, world number 12 SA went into the match two players short on the all-important rolling subs' bench, placing an extra burden on the remaining players, as has been the case for most of the tournament.
But two early shots on goal - the incisive Lloyd Norris-Jones brought a save from keeper David Carter before Clint Panther lashed a shot over the crossbar - set South Africa's course. World number 16 Canada then won three penalty corners in succession - all this in the opening six minutes.
Gutsy South African defence kept them out but Scott Tupper will reflect on what might have been with his gilt-edged opportunity - and to rub salt into it the immensely strong South African midfielder Clinton Panther drove into the strike zone in the seventh minute for Lloyd Norris-Jones to pick up the loose ball and breach the goalline with an excellent shot under the shoulder (1-0).
Canada's Taylor Curran stole around the left-hand baseline before slipping the ball past keeper Rassie Pieterse and it was 1-1 after 17 minutes.
South Africa won a penalty corner soon after and keeper Carter did well to block Smith's drag-flick, but Julian Hykes absolutely creamed his shot off the rebound and all but decapitated the hapless Carter.
South Africa suffered a major setback when Norris-Jones was sin-binned for the last 10 minutes of the half and the African champions were now three players short.
South African keeper Pieterse made a top-class double save before Iain Smythe put Canada into an unlikely lead with a superb diving deflection goal to capitalise on a pinpoint cross from the left wing (2-1).
Two minutes from half-time (33rd) SA defender Rhett Halkett fed Panther, who drove with power and skill into the strike zone before getting a flick away, which Tim Drummond helped over the goalline (2-2).
Two minutes after the re-start (37th) Canada went 3-2 up when Gordon Johnstone fired in a PC drag-flick.
But in the 49th minute, South Africa scored from their eighth penalty corner after a net one-two variation finished off by captain Austin Smith (3-3).
An end-to-end move saw Julian Hykes win a penalty corner before the men in green and gold were awarded yet another and the slip left to Wade Paton yielded immediate reward for SA to go back in front 4-3 in the 56th minute.
South Africa survived an awkward minute or two that included a Canadian PC before a determined run by Pierre de Voux earned a penalty stroke, with which Rhett Halkett made no error for a 5-3 lead with eight minutes left (62nd).
In the 66th, Lloyd Norris-Jones and Taine Paton got in successive shots before Julian Hykes slipped the rebound past keeper David Carter (6-3) and in the 68th the Canadian defence stood off Norris-Jones to allow the elusive striker the time and space to smash a shot from the edge of the strike zone bang into the backboard (7-3).