We had a set game plan and the Cobras executed it to perfection.
This had to be the most disciplined display I have seen from the lads all season, despite some serious provocation both verbal and physical………fortunately we were on a neutral ground with impartial officials. The first half was very closely contested but as expected Russell Vale had the best of the possession and also the best chance of the opening spell. A fast swerving corner from Baxter Bowler Prentice was met by Tommy Heaton but his header was cleared off the line. At the other end Jack Donnelly, Baxter Bowler Prentice, Tom Curran and Ethan Larnach did such a brilliant job in defence the only thing Sean Donnelly had to contend with were a couple of corners. Marking Wollongong’s only goal threat out of the game resulted in their Coach dropping him back into a deep central midfield role with 25mins gone. Five minutes later the game was still scoreless when the referee blew for half time and all the Wollongong players cheered, it was pretty obvious what their game plan was for the evening.
During the break I told the players to ignore the silly stuff going on and just concentrate on their own game. Wollongong are not the fittest of sides and as they tired the chances would come. After the restart Russell Vale was awarded several free kicks around the Wollongong box, the best effort came from Tommy Heaton whom this time hit the bar. It was important that the players stayed patient and not be tempted to retaliate when they were awarded yet another free kick wide on the left hand side of the box. There was only 20mins of the game left when Blair Dunn took the kick and curled in a world class ball, it was met by the head of Jordan Errington whom had timed his run to perfection to head the ball into the corner of the net, 1-0. You could see what it meant to the players as the whole team joined in the celebration.
A few minutes later Wollongong were reduced to 10 players and not before time!
It didn’t take long for Russell Vale to make the numerical advantage count when Bailey Baade Mortimer slipped the ball through for Jordan Errington to stab the ball past the keeper, 2-0. Wollongong were clearly rattled and another superb passing move from Russell Vale led to goal number three. Blair Dunn saw his snap shot parried by the keeper and if ever a player deserved a goal for all his hard work it was Tommy Heaton. He reacted quickest to the original save to make the final score 3-0 and secure Russell Vale a place in the Plate Final. Before the final whistle blew there was one last piece of drama. Wollongong threw caution to the wind and tried to score a consolation goal but Jack Donnelly read the situation and was well placed to clear the shot off the line. We only had 11 available players for this game so a big thank you goes out to Clayton Walker and Ben Luyten for helping us out by sitting on the bench, the latter played a brief cameo role towards the end of the game.
Today was a good life lesson for the players. Always do the right thing by your teammates, never give less than your best and you will always be a winner.
“I’m always proud of these little Cobras………sometimes more than others”.
Please note the Final against Kiama is at “Balgownie 11:00am KO”. The players need to be there approx. 45mins prior to the start. We only have 10 starters so I will look to procure a couple of players from the B side.