North squeak through in final rehearsal
North Geelong scored in the last minute to beat Corio by three goals to two in a very entertaining rehearsal for next week’s grand final in the City of Greater Geelong Cup at Bell Park Sports Club last night.
In their previous games the two sides had only conceded a single goal between them, but Corio got off to a flying start after only four minutes.
Elton Savice outstripped the defence on the left and when Mijo Marinovic’s shot was blocked Andrew Palmieri followed up to beat Daniel Zilic in the North goal.
North hit back with a series of probing attacks and following a corner kick Alec Kitanovski in the Corio goal flapped at the ball and Justin Hanns lobbed it back over him for the equaliser.
It was open, end-to-end football and Corio took the lead once again when a long free kick by Dusko Novakovic confused the North defence and Hanns got a slight touch which took it past his own keeper as Arijan Veljan of Corio dived at the loose ball.
Corio held the lead till ten minutes into the second half when Robbie Zadworny broke clear down the centre and ran on to score easily.
It looked very much as if the game would end in a draw, though North squandered a series of chances.
Fikret Husanovic even got round substitute keeper Simon Smyth and fired the ball right along the goal line, but it just cleared the far post.
Then in the final minute, North won another corner and Nathan Long had a free header for his sixth goal of the competition.
If the final lives up to the excitement of this game then the fans will be delighted.
In the second match Geelong and Geelong Rangers put on their usual tightly contested derby match.
Neither side could score in the first half, though Geelong’s Daniel Wilson intercepted an attempted clearance and fired the ball past Rangers’ keeper, Hayden van der Chys.
The keeper managed to scramble back and stop the ball nearly on the goal line as Michael Temelkovski slid in.
Rangers welcomed back two veterans, Troy Hardy, the competition’s all-time leading scorer, and Scott Davidson, but it was James Blackburn who was the hero with two excellent goals in the second half.
The first came when he took advantage of a rebound from the keeper after his initial effort had been blocked, but the second was fine strike from distance.
He might have had a hat-trick but was just offside as he finished off a pass from Hardy.
On Sunday Surfcoast playes Bell Park at 6 pm, followed by Geelong Rangers against Corio at 7.10 pm.
Team P W D L F A Pts G D
North Geelong 5 5 0 0 15 3 15 12
Corio 4 3 0 1 7 3 9 4
Geelong Rangers 4 1 1 2 4 4 4 0
Geelong 5 1 1 3 3 10 4 -7
Bell Park 4 1 0 3 3 6 3 -3
Surfcoast 4 0 2 2 1 7 2 -6