GB caught by Aussie sucker punch

By Danny Caro in Haifa, July 13, 2009
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Ladies Open Football
Team GB 0 Australia 1

Team GB's Ladies Open football's medal hopes were dealt a blow as they were beaten 1-0 by Australia at Ketsef Central in Haifa on Monday morning.

Having dominated the match for spells and hit the woodwork twice, GB came unstuck by a well-worked Australian goal midway through the second half.

GB settled first with striker Chelsea Berlin a constant threat. Her shoot-on-sight policy kept the Aussie keeper on her toes.

Berlin had the first chance inside the opening minute following a sliderule pass from captain Dani Bassin. The tall forward sent a rasping drive goalwards only for the Aussie keeper to produce a good full-length diving save, pushing the ball to safety.

GB's fitness and superior technique was a standout factor in the first 20 minutes in spite of scorhing temperatures. The team's passed the ball well on an excellent surface with link up play pleasing on the eye.

A feature of the first half saw GB right-midfielder Tanya 'Tigger' Willman involved in a physical battle with the Aussie defence.

Australia looked dangerous on the counter, with their direct approach giving the GB defence some hairy moments.

The Brits came closest to breaking the first-half deadlock when Kate Freeman's pinpoint corner was headed inches wide by Ellie Bard.

Goalless at half time, GB coach Brad Solomon was pleased with the team's performance but was keen to see more a cutting edge during the second half.

But it was Australia who made the perfect start when after 50 minutes, an attack down the right resulted in a dangerous low cross that was slotted in at the far post past a stranded Dana Lucas. The Brentford keeper had been a spectator for long spells but the Aussie forward ghosted in to find the net.

Lucas came to the team's rescue minutes later when, in a three-on-one situation, she came off her line to tip a shot around the post.

GB needed some inspiration and it came in the shape of Berlin. An excellent turn and shot produced another fine save from the gold and green keeper. Aimee Rose, 16, was first to the rebound but sent the ball against the bar with the goal at her mercy. GB appealed that the goal had crossed the line but the ref waved play on.

GB finished the match strongly but their search for an equaliser proved fruitless with the luck going the way of the Aussies.

It was like watching the alamo in the last few minutes as first, Kate Freeman saw a cracking drive from distance smack against the crossbar. Then Berlin found herself clean through with just the keeper to beat but fired over.

GB assistant-manager Lee Bassin said: "I'm really proud of the way they played football and battled. We were better than Australia in so many different ways and did't deserve to lose.

"If we play like that in our remaining four round robin matches, we'll have no problem qualifying for the medal matches. What we take out of today is our performance."

GB: Dana Lucas, Jo Strous (sub: Aimee Cohen), Sherrie Ben Atar, Ellie Bard, Dani Bassin (capt), Ewa Holender, Tamar Koch, Tanya Willman (sub: Sophie Joseph), Chelsea Berlin, Aimee Rose (sub: Talia Ben Harosh 66), Kate Freeman

Match stats

GB

Shots
Goals: 0
On target: 7
Off target: 6

Corners: 2
Fouls: 5
Offsides: 2

Cards: 0

Australia
Shots
Goals: 1
On target: 3
Off target: 3

Corners: 1
Fouls: 2
Offsides: 3

Cards: 0

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Last updated: 11:24am, July 13 2009