England Partially Sighted miss out on a maiden World Championship in the cruellest of fashion
A hat-trick from Adam Lione had set the Para Lions on course for a first IBSA World Championship before late drama
England Partially Sighted missed out on a first IBSA World Championship in the cruellest of fashion as Ukraine scored the winning goal to make it 4-3 with just 22 seconds of extra-time remaining.
Adam Lione’s outstanding hat-trick looked set to hand the Para Lions a maiden World Championship during the first half of extra-time before Robert Tremba equalised with less than four minutes remaining.
And with just 22 seconds left on the clock, Vadym Shvets then dealt superb England the final crushing blow at the University of Wolverhampton.
Steve Daley had made two changes to his starting line-up, as goalkeeper Myles Chadwick and Harry MacDonald came into the side, with Jack Walsh and Lione moving to the bench.
The decision to promote Chadwick was vindicated as he made a string of superb saves in the first half as Ukraine peppered the England goal early on.
The Para Lions carried a threat though and the prolific Doug Pratt almost scored from a well-worked free-kick.
Full Match | England Partially Sighted v Ukraine
Watch the Para Lions in the final of the 2023 IBSA World Championships in Birmingham
But moments later, Ukraine took the lead when Illia Lubashev drilled a low free-kick into the bottom corner.
England were offering an increasing threat as the half wore on though and after Liam Spinks had a shot blocked, some good movement from the resulting corner allowed Lione the space to shoot through the goalkeeper’s legs to level four minutes before the interval.
The Para Lions’ strength in depth was utilised within a minute of the second half, when Chadwick went down injured and was replaced for a period of time by Walsh, who was immediately called into action with a fine save.
England’s goal threat increased in the second half and Lione would have scored had it not been for the fingertips of a diving Anton Humeniuk.
Spinks also had a goal-bound shot palmed away and Josh Pugh had a great chance to score when he was put through on goal, only to be denied by the goalkeeper’s legs.
Ukraine had their best chance of the game moments later but Chadwick did enough to put of the attacker, who shot wide.
England should have scored again soon after when Pratt picked out the run of Lione and his shot with the outside of the boot was wide of the goal.
The Para Lions carried the greater threat initially in the second half but a slick set-piece move from Ukraine could have seen them take the lead had it not been for another smart save by Chadwick.
Ukraine’s threat grew as the second half progressed and with just two-and-a-half minutes left, they went in front went Oleksandr Hetmanov beat his man out wide and sent in a low drive which was diverted in by Shvets from close range.
It looked as though England’s hopes of winning the World Championship were over but just 18 seconds after the restart, Lione cut inside onto his right foot and smashed in a superb strike from distance to send the game into extra-time.
And it was to be another moment of real quality from Lione which was to put England in front as he gained possession on the halfway line, rolled his foot over the ball to beat his defender and then powerfully stabbed the ball past the goalkeeper to make it 3-2 and secure the match ball in the process.
But the Para Lions’ hopes of winning in extra-time suffered a hammer blow with three-and-a-half minutes remaining as Tremba equalised.
And England missed out on a first World Championship in such devastating fashion as with just 22 seconds remaining, Shvets turned his defender and smashed a shot in with the help of the post.
The final whistle was met with jubilation by Ukraine’s players and tears for the England players who had given so much and missed out by the narrowest of margins.
England: 13 Myles Chadwick, 4 Harry Gibbons, 5 Harry MacDonald, 6 Doug Pratt, 11 Liam Spinks
Substitutes: 1 Jack Walsh, 3 Josh Pugh, 7 John McDougall, 8 Jacob Heasman, 10 Adam Lione
Head coach: Steve Daley
Goals: Adam Lione 16, 37, 43
Ukraine: 12 Anton Humeniuk, 2 Oleksandr Hetmanov, 3 Illia Lubashev, 5 Oleg Avramov, 11 Ivan Huts
Substitutes: Roman Skotnikov, Anton Havrylenko, Artem Schasnyi, Vadym Shvets, Robert Tremba
Head coach: Mykola Chkhailu
Goals: Illia Lubashev 10, Vadym Shvets 37, 49, Robert Tremba 47
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