GB heroic despite Olympic heartbreak

(PHOTO: Dean Woolley)

In the end, it just wasn’t to be.  One more goal.  Just one more and they would still have been dreaming of Beijing.

Fate conspired differently and Mike Clancy’s GB Women’s team are left to reflect on what might have been as Korea done just enough to claim the spot in the next round.

Sure, they left Nottingham with a 1-0 defeat, but with the hosts needing two or more to take them through, the Koreans held on and why they celebrated as the competition drew to a close.

We were willing a Robert Farmer or Ben Davies moment by the end.  On this occasion, it never came and out of heartache, there will be time for reflection and positivity.

Korean netminder Inhye Jang, at the age of 16, put on a phenomenal display for a player so young and she had to be on her toes from the early stages as GB pushed for the advantage.

That’s not to say the Koreans weren’t a threat either as Nicole Jackson, the British goalie, made good stops to deny Selin Kim on the rise at one stage.

Then she was on top form to prevent Nara Kang executing a finish as Korea got themselves on a two-on-one break.

Chamonix Jackson went close in the second period as both teams still sought the opening goal that could have tipped the scales one way or the other.

Saffron Allen couldn’t get a shot away at the back post cleanly enough after a scramble around the crease and the GB captain was left to rue her luck.

The crowd got what they wanted though at the end of the second period when Louise Adams was fed by Kathryn Marsden and sent the puck in from between the hash marks.

Suddenly the crowd sensed something could be on here as they willed the team on for hopefully more.

Korea had to batten down the hatches and deal with the momentum swing in the third period and try to create chances of their own.  It really was all to play for.

Penalties came into play in the third as both teams couldn’t really get going in the opening ten minutes of the final session.

Louise Adams celebrates her goal (PHOTO: Dean Woolley)

Time ticked down, despite the best efforts of the GB team to try and sneak something late on, but when it got to the final minute, you sensed the game was up.

GB left everything out there, but despite two wins from three, the door to China in February was firmly shut in their faces.

Beaten? Yes.  Proud?  Most definitely and that’s how Clancy felt as he summed up the game with a feeling of knowing there is much more to come from his team.

“We emptied the tank completely,” he said. “We came up against a well drilled side that knew what they needed to do and I couldn’t have asked for anything more from the girls.

“We’ve only had a short period of time together to get our systems embedded and to create the kind of atmosphere that we want.

”I think we’ve got to really step it up again for the World Championship. We’re looking forward to the challenge and I know the girls will go and do us proud.”

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