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Penalty Spot Pressure - September 18 2012
Penalty spot pressure
Patrick O’Meara and
September 18 2012
Shepparton United was forced to go the full distance to secure the Goulburn North East Football Association under-17 boys’ premiership at Deakin Reserve on Saturday.
United and arch-rival Shepparton South could not be separated after 90 minutes, with a late strike from the Southerners in the dying minute squaring the game at 2-2 and sending the two sides to a penalty shootout.
Nick Foster was the first to step up to the spot for United and kicked truly.
Southerner Matt McLelland then had his shot saved by star United goalkeeper Jake Keating, low to his right.
Fubuki Sakurai then made it 2-0 for United.
Southerner Ben Lardner then fired over the bar.
It was then Keating who stepped up to the spot to make it 3-0, before returning to his own goal to stop Anthony Napolitana’s shot.
United coach Rocky Papalia said it had been a tough battle.
‘‘It was very, very close,’’ Papalia said.
‘‘We always knew it was going to be close, it has been between the top four sides all year.
‘‘South had made it through to the grand final first and we knew we had to come back ready for the challenge.’’
Andrew Kyriakou and Travis Georgopoulos had been the scorers in regular time for United, with Papalia saying both had come from long-range.
Shepparton South claimed the under-15 boys’ premiership with a 2-1 victory over Kialla at Deakin Reserve on Sunday.
Southerners president Adam Perona said it was a great result for the young side.
‘‘I am very proud of our juniors again this season,’’ Perona said.
‘‘Our club is very strong on juniors and it is good to see that our program is going well.’’
Shepparton United coach Charlie Fiore was thanking his lucky stars that he had his players practice a set-piece on Friday, before Saturday’s under-13 boys’ grand final at Deakin Reserve.
With four minutes remaining, Damian Russo found rising star David Musafiri in the box whose header was on target to give United a 1-0 win.
It was the same set-piece that United had rolled out at Central Park at training.
‘‘I am pretty glad we practised that,’’ Fiore said.
Fiore said it was a just result.
‘‘We were the best team all year and it was a good team effort from every player,’’ he said.
A Janna Lawson hat-trick led Kyabram Phoenix to premiership glory in under-16 girls at Deakin Reserve on Sunday.
Lawson scored two from the spot, and a third in play, all before half-time as the Phoenix went three goals up at the change.
Cobram Victory was the only scorer in the second half.
Phoenix coach Michelle Milne said it had been a long journey for the Phoenix.
‘‘At the start of the season we only had 10 players,’’ Milne said.
‘‘On the Saturday, before our opening game against Shepparton South we only had 10.
‘‘The next day we had 12.
‘‘We have had five or six girls who had never played soccer before and we have had to develop them.
‘‘It is great for the club and I am really proud of all the girls, especially to go through undefeated.’’
Victory coach Nick Mete said he was disappointed with the referees and in particular two penalty decisions for the first two goals.
‘‘I thought they were very soft and they destroyed the game,’’ Mete said.
‘‘I spoke to some of the Kyabram people and even they didn’t know what they were for.’’
Shepparton South completed an undefeated season in capturing the under-14 girls’ premiership with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Shepparton United at Deakin Reserve on Sunday.
The Southerners broke through United’s staunch defence, where they played five at the back, midway through the second half when Molly Ramage found the back of the net.
Shepparton South coach Mathew Cucinotta said United had given his charges their biggest challenge of the season.
‘‘Compared to the games we played during the year, where we went undefeated and often won quite easily, United took it right up to us,’’ Cucinotta said.
‘‘Basically, I think United played their best game of the year and really challenged us.
‘‘We still had a lot of chances, including a missed penalty.’’
Holly Boldiston was the star for the Southerners, snaring the best-on-ground medal, while Aimee Stanyer and Kira Button were other standouts.
Shepparton claimed the under-11 premiership at Deakin Reserve on Saturday.
The Reds won 2-0 over Cobram in a tense decider.
Shepparton president Chris Davkovski said it was a great effort from the Reds’ young charges.