Olympics: Doncaster GB hockey star faces big showdown with Spain
Doncaster's Barry Middleton was left ruing the finer details as Great Britain's men's hockey team lost 2-1 to Australia to leave their Rio 2016 hopes in danger of crumbling.
Great Britain captain Middleton took on Australia knowing that a victory would see the team qualify for the quarter-finals with a game to spare.
But it wasn’t to be as with the teams locked in a stalemate going into the fourth and final quarter Australia struck twice through Aran Zalewski and Jacob Whetton.
Great Britain fought to the very end and pulled a go back with two minutes left through Ashley Jackson, but it was too little too late.
And 32-year-old Middleton believes that on another day it could have been a completely different story.
“We could have scripted how that game would go and what we would get out of it – the tackles, the intensity, everything that comes with GB playing against Australia,” he said.
“We have had that for many years now against them and this time we unfortunately couldn’t nick a goal at the right time, which they did.
“We just couldn’t quite make it back. At 2-1 down at the end there we still played with good composure and god calmness to make another chance.
“We always trust in our game that we will get another chance, whatever is happening. We got it but it just didn’t quite go in and sometimes that happens.
“We defended really well, hit them on the counter attack and got to places where we wanted to be but we were a little bit off some bits.
“If we made a mistake someone got there to clear it up but it is just frustrating on the end result and it puts us under pressure but that’s what we’re here to deal with.”
The result means Great Britain must now beat Spain in their final pool game on Friday and hope Belgium do them a favour by downing New Zealand with the Kiwis currently occupying the fourth and final quarter-final spot in Pool B.
That is easier said than done though with Spain having won their opening three fixtures, but Middleton is not prepared to wave the white flag.
“We knew coming into this wherever we were at that we would go into that Spain game wanting to win,” he added.
“There was never going to be a point where we would go into that game not trying to beat them, so it doesn’t change much for us.
“It just means we really need to go into it and do our jobs right and get our game right again.”
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