This was 1st place v 6th place but it still took Russell Vale 15 mins to assert their authority on the game. Dapto’s tactics of hoof and chase put the Cobras under a lot of pressure in the opening stages but other than a couple of crosses Ethan Johnson never had a shot to save. At the other end there were some near misses from Jordan Errington, Hayley Waller and Ethan Larnach all going close plus a thunderous effort from Tom Curran that was pushed onto the bar by the keeper. Then just before HT the team went to sleep on a free kick and Dapto scored from their only shot of the game.
The second half continued with all the action in the Dapto half of the field. Almost from the restart Russell Vale nearly equalised, we had more players in the Dapto 6 yard box than they did but still the ball wouldn’t go in. Strangely enough the scenario was repeated in the last seconds of the game and once again we failed to convert.
Even though Russell Vale have swept all before them in the League this season, averaging 5 goals per game, it just goes to show how a cup match is a completely different ball game. You can’t blame Dapto for their tactics in the second half by kicking the ball as far out of play as possible or taking their time on goal kicks. It was designed to disrupt our normal fluent passing game and fair play to them it worked. It caused frustration to creep into our game, we wasted a free kick, numerous corners and were even caught offside on several occasions. Our profligacy in front of goal cost us big time.
However it’s not all doom and gloom, on the plus side this result indirectly knocks out Oak Flats who had finished runners up in the league plus Tarrawanna who were third. As we ended up the highest place loser in the Semi we now get another chance to put things right against 4th placed Kiama for a chance in the Grand Final, while 5th & 6th place Unanderra v Dapto battle it out for the other Grand Final spot. It’s strange to think that the teams who finished 4th,5th & 6th beat the top three teams but that’s cup football for you, current form counts for nothing.
It was nice to see the players get their reward after the game for not only finishing as League Champions but for playing a very entertaining style of football. I’m sure they will win more trophies during their Junior careers but you never forget your first. I hope they cherish those medals and realise in life you can achieve anything through hard work and team effort. I would never take the Kiama game lightly but if there is any justice in this world it would be nice if the Cobras went on to meet Dapto in the Grand Final.