Rangers and Bell Park into the finals in Geelong Community Cup
Geelong Rangers topped Group A of the Geelong Community Cup after a seven-one thrashing of Surfcoast, while Bell Park booked its place in the finals after coming from behind to beat Deakin Ducks by the odd goal in five.
In the early game Bell Park were stunned in the fourth minute when Deakinâ€™s Abdullah Wahidi opened the scoring. Deakin should have had a second shortly after, but the ball rebounded from the post when it looked much easier to score. It took Park until the 19th minute before Andrew Palmieri brought the all whites level.
Once again Park was slow out of the blocks in the second half and Sam Gower got his second goal of the competition for Deakin within a minute of the restart. There seemed little urgency about Bell Parkâ€™s efforts to remedy the situation until Joshua Berta equalised. Berta was also instrumental in the winning goal in the last minute beating his man and lifting the ball into the goal area for Mijo Marinovic to score with a short range header. Both teams hit the woodwork and had chances galore, but Park just fell over the line. So its defence of its Community Cup continues, while Deakin showed that it could give the teams from higher divisions a run for their money.
Host club Geelong Rangers was expected to be far too strong for an undermanned Surfcoast and so it turned out in the end, but the early stages were closely contested and Rangers had only a single goal advantage at the break. Surfcoast keeper Joel Gawne saved an inswinging corner kick but the ball was not cleared properly and when it came back in Jordan Swaney thumped it past the stranded keeper. A couple of minutes into the second half, Surfcoast got a corner on the right and Jordan Parker floated a dangerous ball into the goal area. Rangersâ€™ keeper Hayden van der Chys tried to help it over the bar but only succeeded in turning it into his own net. Referee James Perks credited the goal to Parker, because it would probably have crept in without the keeperâ€™s intervention.
That stung Rangers into a sustained response and when Matt Humphries bamboozled a defender who brought him down in the box, Conor Reddan buried the resultant penalty. Substitute Alex Timms added a third goal with a deflected shot in 54 minutes and Lars Halse made it four from a good low cross by Daniel Earley. Swaney got his second and Rangers fifth from a diagonal ball in 61 minutes, then Halse gave big Colin Hamilton the chance to convert with a close-range header and finally Reddan ran through a static defence and nutmegged the keeper as the referee blew shortly afterwards for full time.
On Sunday night Group B will be settled when Golden Plains plays Corio at 6 pm, followed by Lara against Geelong. Corio is through already but all the other three clubs have a chance of joining them, though Lara and Golden Plains already have a win apiece, while Geelong has not yet picked up a point.