With the return of Riley Hanlon, Baxter Bowler Prentice and Ethan Lanarch to the side we had a full strength squad to face Kiama. Before the game I explained to the players about “good & bad”, “winners & losers”. As a mark of respect to Kiama for knocking us out of the Plate at the semi-final stage and going on to win the trophy the players lined up on the halfway line and applauded their opponents prior to kick off.
Kiama are a difficult side to play against so this was one of those games that always had the potential to be a banana skin for the Cobras but that wasn’t to be the case today. Still smarting from the semi-final defeat, Russell Vale took a strangle hold of the game right from the kick off and never let go. The only surprise was at half time the scores were still locked at 0-0 mainly due to the woodwork at Kiama’s end. From 20 yards out Haley Waller landed an audacious shot on top of the bar, Blair Dunn’s snapshot hit the post and Jordan Errington besides hitting the post from an acute angle also had a goal disallowed for offside. It’s safe to say that Kiama continued to ride their luck from the semi but surely it had to run out sometime?
The second half was all one way traffic as Russell Vale once again laid siege to the Kiama goal. Although there was the occasional counter attack from Kiama and they even won the odd corner our goalie Ethan Johnson never had a shot to save and the defence deserve all the credit. Clayton Walker kept tight on Kiama’s top goal scorer, ably assisted by Tom Curran, Baxter Bowler Prentice, Bailey Baade Mortimer and Brody Armour, while Jack Donnelly swept up any loose ends.
At the other end there were several near misses, good saves from the keeper and another disallowed goal. One particular goal mouth scramble saw Blair Dunn and Brody Armour combine at the back post only to see their attempted efforts at goal scrambled to safety as Kiama hung on. However Blair Dunn has a habit of scoring crucial goals and although he had a shot cleared off the line only minutes earlier he made no mistake from Harrison Benn’s corner to fire home, 1-0 Russell Vale. Late in the game after good work again from Harrison Benn plus a pin point cross from Hayley Waller, Jordan Errington was perfectly positioned to score his obligatory goal and make the game safe at 2-0.
As Coach I was very pleased with the performance and it’s impossible to pick out individuals for praise when collectively as a team they work so hard for each other. The players response to their semi-final defeat was first class and it was nice to keep a clean sheet after last week’s roller coaster game with Tarrawanna.