GB lost their placement semi-final at the Emerging Nations Championship against Moldova in a penalty-shoot-out, after the teams finished tied at 33-33.
The day started badly for GB when David Klaening was ruled out for the semi-final, and maybe the rest of the tournament, with a shin injury. In addition Ryan Goodwin, who had missed much of the Albania match with a thigh strain, was still not fully fit. This news came on the back of the raft of injuries that plagued GB’s preparations for the championship. Assistant coach Chris McDermott, who was named in the original player long-list, was drafted-in as back-up.
It was not the best preparation for a tough game against the more experienced and higher ranked Moldovans, but GB Head Coach Ricardo Vasconcelos refused to be downbeat and vowed that the team would “turn our problems into positive opportunities”.
The first half saw a steady start as the teams traded blows, before Moldova had a strong spell and went 13-9 up at the 20 minute mark. GB managed to wrest the initiative back and took a 17-15 lead, but then conceded two late goals as the teams reached half-time at 17-17.
The second half saw the game swing one way then the other, with neither team able to take control, until Moldova went 28-25 up in the 48th minute. GB’s defence continued to cause problems and they hit back to take the lead and were still two goals up with five minutes remaining. In a tense finish Moldova managed to edge ahead once more, but Lindsay equalised in the last minute to take the match to penalties.
Despite two saves by Owen Insou, GB lost the penalty shoot-out. It was a disappointing ending to a brave performance by the young GB side, but they have much to be proud of. Brian Lindsay top scored with nine.
GB play Ireland in the 11/12 placement match at 2.45pm (UK time) on Sunday.
(photo credit: Bulgarian Handball Federation)