Corio into final, North Youth overcomes Surfcoast
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Corio reached the final of the Morris Finance Cup at Bell Park Sports Club on Friday night with a single goal victory over Geelong.
North Geelong Youth fought back from a goal down to beat Surfcoast three–two in the play off for seventh place.
These were two even games with the results in doubt until the end. Surfcoast got a penalty in the last minute but Rhys Manning’s powerfully struck kick cannoned off the crossbar to safety. Earlier Ryan Boardman had given Surfcoast the lead in the 10th minute when North Geelong failed to clear its lines and the ball fell kindly for Boardman only about twelve metres from goal.
Tom Langman then conceded an un-necessary penalty on the stroke of half time, bringing down his man on the edge of the box. Jak Banks converted to leave the teams at one-all at the break.
Two quick goals changed the complexion of the game. James Hidic drove a corner kick from the left and it was diverted into the Surfcoast goal as keeper Tom Burns was left stranded. A couple of minutes later another loose ball bobbled around the Surfcoast penalty area. When it broke to him Banks hammered it back into goal with a fierce volley.
Substitute Ry Herman of Surfcoast got away down the right wing with seven minutes left. Fans were left debating whether his effort from nearly on the byeline was a shot or a cross but it swerved over keeper Joe Gawne who was caught just off his line.
Geelong fielded a number of their recent Scottish imports in the semi-final against Corio and probably the majority of fans expected that they would be too strong for Robbie Noggler’s side. The first half was a midfield arm-wrestle and while Geelong had a couple of half-chances, Corio might have taken the lead in the last minute when Elton Savice broke through and shot just wide. Four minutes into the second half, Corio went ahead. Rebounding down the left Velibor Pavlovic outstripped the Geelong defence and sent over a low cross which fell neatly for Nathan Cook to finish.
The game became increasingly frenetic and there was a string of bookings but the Corio defence marshaled well by Ronnie Clayson stood firm. Geelong coach Steve Laurie used Chris Balabarova as sweeper and one wonders whether he might have been better deployed further up the field, as Geelong seemed to run out of ideas in the latter part of the game.
On Sunday night, Surfside Waves plays Geelong Rangers for fifth place at 6 pm, then host club Bell Park takes on Lara United at 7.20 pm with the other spot in the final at stake.