Captain Sarah Kempson scored a last-minute screamer to send Team GB into tomorrow's women's beach soccer gold medal match against Spain at the inaugural ANOC World Beach Games in Doha, Qatar.
It was a scintillating first period for both teams and for the first time at the World Beach Games, Team GB found themselves two goals down after just three minutes of play.
Kempson scored her first goal of the game with a blistering free kick to bring Team GB back into the game. But it didn’t take Brazil long to cancel it out with a spectacular scissor kick goal. Wendy Martin responded with a characteristic header and then with just 40 seconds left on the clock Brazil took their lead back out to 4-2.
Both teams cancelled each other out in the second period and the score heading into the third period remained 4-2.
Minutes into the third period Brazil extended their lead, but Gemma Hillier brought it back to 5-3 with eight minutes left of play. A fantastic goal line throw from Hannah Haughton found the head of Martin for her second of the game, which she turned into a hat-trick minutes later as she kept her composure to score a penalty and level the scores.
With just one-minute left of the clock the magic left foot of Captain Kempson struck a free kick to give Team GB the lead for the first time in the match. With tensions running high, and just two seconds left of the game, Brazil were awarded a free kick close to the GB goal. Keeper Haughton, kept her composure and made a stunning save to take her team through to the gold medal match.
An emotional Haughton said; “There were just two seconds left so I just tried to take a moment to focus and work her out. I guessed that as it was a high-pressured shot, and I am not the tallest of keepers, that they would go high. Luckily, I got it right and was able to tip it over the bar.
“After the save I just sunk to my knees and cried. I can’t believe we are in the World Beach Games final. It felt so good to be able to help my team out in those last few seconds after all they’ve helped me through.”
“I am absolutely buzzing", added Kempson. We have learnt that no matter what happens, if you’re one goal down or three goals down you are still in the game. You’ve just got to keep your head and believe you can win.”
Unfortunately, hat-trick scorer Martin received her second yellow of the game shortly after her third goal and will be unavailable for the final.
Earlier in the day with a very light and fickle wind, the semi-final of the women's kitefoil got underway at Katara Beach. Unfortunately, in the first race Steph Bridge hit a plastic bag which stopped her dead in the water. She had better luck in the second and final race but wasn't able to make up enough to change the final result which saw her finish sixth in her heat. With only the top ranked athlete from each heat progressing through to the afternoon’s final that was the end of her competition.