Bell Park and Corio to contest Geelong Cup final
Host club, Bell Park, secured its place in the Morris Finance Cup final with a four-one win over a plucky Lara team on Sunday night, which sets up a clash with Corio for the trophy on 21 February.
In the play-off for fifth place Geelong Rangers put four goals past Surfside Waves without reply. Returning striker James Blackburn got a brace and Rangers’ other goals were scored by Ben Noble and Jordan Swaney.
The semi-final between Bell Park and Lara United was very even and scoreless in the first half. Matt Demo broke the deadlock in the first minute of the second half and with home ground advantage and the wind behind it Park was expected to cruise to victory.
But Lara had some excellent attempts on goal. Luke Wilson hit the frame of the goal with a free kick from distance with Park keeper Angelo di Mauro stranded in the middle of his goal.
It was not till after the hour mark that Park was able to add to its lead when Frank Mileto capitalised on a rebound from the Lara defence and thrashed home a second goal.
Lara struck back quickly and were awarded a penalty kick but di Mauro saved Ben Houston’s attempt.
Five minutes later Mijo Marinovic picked up a loose ball on the edge of the Lara penalty area, found Demo who set up Paul Feola for Park’s third.
Shivannan Kawapathy did a neat piece of defending from the front to ensure a break down in Lara’s transition and fed Marinovic for Park’s fourth goal.
Lara got an immediate consolation goal when substitute Paul Hovius outstripped the Park defence and slotted home from the edge of the area.
Next Sunday Lara will take on Geelong at 4 pm to decide third place, then at 6 pm the final will give Bell Park a chance to make it a third win in the Cup at their home ground, the previous two coming in the first competition in 1981 and the second seven years later.
Corio, no doubt, will be all out to prevent that and record their first win in five finals since 2012. Four others were lost to North Geelong (three times) and Geelong, but on the last two of those occasions the final was decided on penalties.
The final next Sunday will have two 45-minute halves. It should be a cracker.