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Lee Power, at the Water Polo Arena
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Team GB 7 USA 13
Great Britain’s men put up a brave fight in the pool before slipping to their third successive defeat of the water polo competition tonight.
Well beaten by Romania (13-4) and Serbia (21-7) in their opening two matches, the hosts saw an early Ciaran James shot well saved by Merrill Moses before the USA opened the scoring through captain Tony Azevedo.
And Azevedo, who escaped suspension despite a red card in his side’s win over Romania, struck again during a man advantage less than a minute later, before Alex Parsonage forced another good save from Moses.
GB skipper Craig Figes was thwarted as the hosts enjoyed the extra man, but was then excluded for a foul of his own and Azevedo completed his hat-trick with a successful penalty conversion.
Figes rattled the American crossbar during Britain’s next attack, before Shea Buckner was left in space to the left of Ed Scott’s goal to make it 4-0 after another GB exclusion foul.
John Mann completed a miserable opening quarter for GB when he held off two defenders to score his side’s fifth from close range.
And the gap quickly grew to 7-0 after the restart as Adam Wright’s shot proved too strong for Scott, who got fingertips to it, and Buckner was given too much time to bounce in his second of the night.
GB finally broke their duck when Rob Parker fizzed a long-range shot past Chay Lapin, who had replaced Moses at the start of the second quarter, and the crowd responded in excitable fashion with the popular chant of “GB (clap, clap, clap)”.
Figes struck the goal frame for a second time, hitting a post, before Scott denied Azevedo, only to see Ryan Bailey make it 8-1 moments later.
The decibel count was raised again when the Brits stayed patient after an exclusion foul against their rivals and Parker flashed his second goal of the night into the top corner.
Joseph O’Regan was fouled out of the game after his third exclusion of the night, but James fired low inside the left-hand post to make it 8-3 at half-time.
And the teams traded goals after the restart, as Azevedo’s fourth, during another advantage, was cancelled out by GB’s Jake Vincent.
Coach Cristian Iordache called a timeout with five minutes still to play in the third quarter and James cut the gap to four with his second goal of the night, an accurate shot inside the far post.
But the Americans responded in kind as Peter Varellas fired in off the crossbar to reach double figures.
Figes fired home just as the clock ticked down, despite American protests about the ball not entering the goal, to give the home side a lift for the final eight minutes.
But Beckenham’s Sean King was denied a goal as Lapin scooped the ball away from danger at the last moment and the USA moved 11-6 up with Bailey’s penalty after a foul by Enfield-born Jack Waller.
King had a shot saved before a timeout was called with 4:21 left on the clock.
USA finally put daylight between themselves and the ever-improving GB side with goals from Bailey, his third of the match, and Jeff Powers.
The superb Parker rattled in for his hat-trick with little under half a minute remaining for the last score.
At the final hooter predictably it was USA who had done enough to win. But they were given an almighty scare.
GB: Scott, James, Robinson, King, Figes, Waller, Parsonage, Vincent, Parker, Scholefield, Ryder, O’Regan, Holland.