It was fourth time lucky for England hockey star Dan Fox on the final day of the Commonwealth Games on Sunday.

The former Hampstead & Westminster stalwart has endured his fair share of disappointment on the international stage with England, losing three third and fourth place playoffs in successive major championships.

However, that unenviable record was ended when England secured bronze by means of – whisper it quietly – a penalty shoot-out against New Zealand after the game finished 3-3 in normal time.

So while England’s world ranking suggested they should have been runners-up at Glasgow 2014, given his previous disappointments Fox was overjoyed with a medal of any colour.

He said: “I’ve finished fourth in two world cups and an Olympic Games, so this is brilliant.

“Obviously everyone comes here looking for a gold medal, but we are delighted with that.

“We were disappointed yesterday (after defeat to Australia), but we picked ourselves up for a really tough battle against New Zealand here and to come away with a bronze medal is a great achievement I think and something to really build on for the future.”

The medal was earned in the hardest way possible following a see-saw battle with the black sticks, who had beaten England five days earlier in the group phase of the tournament.

New Zealand struck first when Simon Child stole possession in midfield and advanced into the circle with some beautiful stick work control before firing beyond England keeper George Pinner.

England almost responded immediately, forcing the ball home from close range only for the effort to be disallowed because Phil Roper had used the back of his stick when crossing the ball.

 

The Kiwis, far more attacking than they had been in their over the same opponents on Tuesday, had chances to double the lead.

Andy Hayward was just off target with a penalty corner strike, while a vital interception from Michael Hoare snuffed out another threat from the men in black.

Marcus Child then forced a good save from Pinner with England a man short after Ashley Jackson picked up a green card.

 At the other end Roper produced a flying stop from New Zealand keeper Devon Manchester, but for a while at least it was New Zealand who continued to carry the greater threat.

Another Hayward penalty corner strike was deflected off target, while Pinner’s outstretched foot denied Simon Inglis after he burst through a gap in the English midfield.

Those scares survived England turned the game right around with two goals in three minutes.

First Alastair Brogdon stabbed home after a cross from the right hit a defender and came back off keeper Manchester, before Jackson fired them in front with a venomous penalty corner strike.

However, the lead lasted barely a minute before Hayward struck back with a penalty corner strike of his own to make it 2-2 at the break.

England were back in front three minutes after the break when Jackson cracked a twice taken short corner.

Even then England were not safe and Simon Child fired one shot narrowly wide before proving it was merely a rehearsal y levelling matters again with a shot from inside the circle on the hour.

With no-one able to grab a winner in the final 10 minutes it meant the destiny of the medal rested on the shoot-out.

The first two efforts were scored, but England stole the initiative when Pinner saved New Zealand’s second effort from Blair Hilton.

The keeper proved the hero again when he forced the excellent Simon Child wide enough to fire his effort off target, meaning Simon Mantell could seal it with England’s fourth attempt.

England's Simon Mantell (top) crashes into New Zealand's Devon Manchester

Manchester upended the England man in his attempt to stop him and although the Kiwis protested the decision, a penalty stroke was awarded.

Jackson kept his cool amid the drama to fire the chance into the corner and England were home.

Fox admitted there had been plenty of fingernail chewing in those last dramatic minutes and was just glad one England national team was good at penalties.

He added: “I sat through Italia 90 mate so you don’t have to tell me about penalty shoot-outs.

“I was pretty stressed out while it was going on, but I’m delighted now.

“George did really well on the two New Zealand misses, putting them under a huge amount of pressure where our players were very cool.

“We do a lot of practice on shoot-outs, often on a cold miserable morning at Bisham Abbey and that has borne fruit now which is pleasing.”