Golden Plains wins last place in Geelong Community Cup finals
A one-all draw against Corio secured the last place in this year’s Community Cup finals at Geelong Rangers’ Myers Reserve on Sunday. Corio was already through and the result meant that Lara United had to win the last group match against Geelong to qualify. In the end the higher division club won by two goals to one. In appalling conditions as the rain pelted down the quality of play in both matches suffered though no one could fault the commitment of all those taking part.
Golden Plains shocked Corio with an early goal after 14 minutes. Ronnie Clayson appeared to fall over, but after the game he was still trying to convince the referee that he was pushed in the back. Lucas Bonafacio took advantage and rounded keeper Adam Kumcevski and put the ball into the empty net. It took Corio another twenty minutes to get on terms. Michael Boyar made an incisive run down the wing and his final shot was parried away for a corner kick. The ball was played back to Clayson who whipped it across and Boyar headed it home. It stayed at one-all as the heavens opened and both sides struggled to keep their feet. Jasmin Ikanovic had a good header for Corio that brought out an equally fine save by Plains keeper Hamish Flavell. Golden Plains did pin Corio back at times but could not find another goal. Nevertheless at their first Community Cup they are into the knock-out semi-finals where they will meet host and favourite, Geelong Rangers, next Sunday night.
Geelong fielded their youngsters once again with Chris Balabarova lending his experience and drive in midfield in the heavy going. Lyndsay Falzon has been impressed by the effort of his squad at Lara United, and though his team went behind after seven minutes they continued to take the fight to Geelong. A long shot by Geelong’s Dusko Delic squirmed through the hands of keeper Harley Marsden. You could hardly blame the goalie since the ball must have been like the proverbial bar of soap. In the 16th minute Geelong keeper Dylan Nikolovski took out Ben Houston and was booked for the challenge. The youngster picked himself up and fired in the free kick which the keeper diverted on to the post and away for a fruitless corner. Geelong got a penalty in the last minute of the first half, but the kick was delayed because the penalty spot was pool of water. Eventually Matt Linney took the responsibility and put Geelong two ahead. Lara got back into the game early in the second half when there was huge scramble in the Geelong goal area and Jack Jones forced the ball home from close-in. Lara would still have needed two more goals to dislodge Golden Plains and though they did have a couple of chances there was no further score.
So next Sunday Corio will play Bell Park kicking-off at 4 pm, followed by Geelong Rangers against Golden Plains at 6 pm. The winners will meet in the final on 19 February.