GB women's water polo suffer Russia loss

30 July 2012 / 22:15

The Great Britain women's water polo team lost to Russia by the narrowest of margins as they suffered a 7-6 defeat in their first ever Olympic match.

Team GB were trailing by one or two goals for most of the game, but managed to draw level in the final quarter, only to concede with three minutes to play.

The partisan crowd of 5,000 cheered on the home side as they fought it out with the Russians, who came third in last year's world championships.

Centre back Francesca Painter-Snell, 25, from Manchester, sent the Water Polo Arena into a frenzy as she fired in the first goal of the game, opening the goal account for a Great Britain women's team at the Olympics.

Russia clawed one back through a counter attack by Nadezhda Fedotova and could have scored more if they had not been twice denied by the woodwork and a penalty not been saved by the outstanding British goalkeeper Rosie Morris.

Chloe Wilcox, 25, from Carlisle, scored from the left wing for the home team to take it to 2-1, before Ekaterina Prokofyeva scored twice to give the Russians a 3-2 advantage after the first period.

Russia extended their lead in the second quarter through Alexandra Antonova, before Angie Winstanley-Smith, 26, from South Shields, fired in from close range during a man-up, and Fiona McCann, 25, from Chester, cut inside on five metres to slot the ball into the top left corner, bringing the score to 4-4.

The two sides then traded man-up goals, with Olga Beliaeva and Winstanley-Smith taking advantage of a power-play situations.

Beliaeva scored the only goal of a cagey third quarter, which saw Great Britain rattle the crossbar and fail to convert man-up chances.

Winstanley-Smith claimed her hat-trick to level the scores at 6-6 after one minute of the fourth quarter, but a breakaway goal from Evgeniya Ivanova brought heartbreak to the home team and their fans.