Heartbreak for St Albans duo as last minute New Zealand goal sends Great Britain out
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A last minute goal sent Great Britain tumbling out of the World League Finals at the quarter-final stage.
Olivia Merry’s backhand strike crept in at the near post to break GB hearts and give New Zealand a 2-1 win and send the Blacksticks through to the semi-final.
St Albans pair Hannah Macleod and Ellie Watton both started for GB but were helpless spectators as Merry struck.
It was a complete swing in emotions from five minutes earlier when a penalty stroke by GB captain, Helen Richardson-Walsh, had cancelled out Anita Punt’s first-half opener.
The skipper’s goal, which came following a video referral, looked to be sending the game to a penalty shootout and GB’s head coach, Danny Kerry thinks it was only slips in concentration which cost them the win.
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He said: “We were quite naive and played some silly passes out of defence in the first half and then made a silly mistake at the end.
“It was an accumulation of a lot of little things and that means the game gets away from you.”
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Kerry though believes the experience will help the team as they prepare for the Olympics in Rio next year.
He added: “We need players to be here and go through these experiences. There are some players at home who also need to be here to get the experiences for Rio. It’s all very well making excuses but international hockey is tough.
“We will debrief and look at our decision-making. The players now understand a little bit more about what this level is like.
“The younger players now get the tempo of the game and the heat of the quarter final format.
“They will probably play with a bit more nous and we won’t let games get away from us.”
Great Britain will now face South Korea in the seventh/eighth classification game tomorrow (Saturday).