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High five for grand Victory - September 18 2012
High five for grand Victory
September 18 2012
Cobram Victory is the first club engraved on the Regional Premier League trophy after sealing its maiden senior premiership with a 5-0 win against Shepparton at Deakin Reserve on Saturday night.
All five goals arrived in the second half, as Victory took control of a grand final that was hanging in the balance.
While the score was 2-0 at the time, the dismissal of Reds centre-half Ian Peach for two bookable offences proved the key moment of the match.
The final three goals added gloss to Victory’s glittering triumph.
It was a premiership 13 years in the making and the emotion was palpable in the rooms after the match.
Victory coach Craig Carley could hardly contain his excitement.
‘‘I’m just over the moon, we’ve worked so hard as a group of players this year,’’ Carley said.
‘‘I said to the boys ‘not many people get to win grand finals and to just seize the moment and leave nothing on the pitch’.’’
However, it took 45 minutes for that to come to fruition.
The first half was a true English-style contest, with both sides adopting a long ball approach.
It suited Shepparton better and without classy midfielder Matt Gray, who started on the bench, Cobram Victory lacked composure in the middle of the pitch.
Both sides created early openings, with Victory captain Adam Gatcum drawing a good save out of Peter Nedelkovski, before Shepparton striker Adam Morning fired a warning shot past Lyall Beazely’s upright.
However, the best chance of the half fell to Shepparton.
Daniel Heffernan released Morning down the right and he ghosted into the box, before shifting the ball past the keeper onto his left foot, but could only find the side netting with the finish.
Tensions threatened to boil over in the final 10 minutes of the half.
Reds Kevin Shaw and Peach and Victory enforcer Adam Fennell went into the book for sloppy challenges, before Carley joined them after clattering into the back of Peach on the right touchline.
The challenge incensed the Shepparton bench, who believed Carley had deliberately raised his forearm, and choice words were exchanged as the two clubs left the pitch at half-time.
The first five minutes of the second half were always going to be crucial, and so they were.
An early mistake in defence was pounced upon by Carley, who lifted his head and dinked a cross into the path of Billy Marshall, who took a touch and coolly stroked the ball into the net.
The goal appeared to rattle the Reds and Victory poured forward, with two penalty shouts waved away, before a third was granted.
Jamie England made no mistake from the spot.
It went from bad to worse for the Reds as moments later Peach received his second booking for abusing the referee to leave his side with 10 men.
Carley made it three and set-up Marshall for a fourth, before sealing a brace of his own with a late tap-in.
The scoreline allowed the Victory to hand a late cameo to Gray off the bench.
Carley said the red card was crucial in deciding the match.
‘‘Peachy is a very good player, but he loses it very easily. I told the boys that before the game, if you get into him a bit, he’ll lose his head and that’s exactly what he did,’’ Carley said.
‘‘At half-time I just told the boys to relax, that they’ve got more time than they think they have and if they start playing football on the deck, we’ll beat them because they’re very slow defensively.
‘‘We just needed to come back in at half-time, consolidate, assess the situation and go again, and that’s exactly what we did.’’
Reds coach Tom Radevski acknowledged the same turning point and said the fact his side was unable to take the lead was costly.
However, he said the club took a certain amount of satisfaction away from the season and would be back to go one better next year.
‘‘At the start of the year, we weren’t rated very highly and we snuck in underneath everyone,’’ Radevski said.
‘‘We don’t like losing much, if we did we wouldn’t have won 14 grand finals.
‘‘I know this is going to really spur the club on and you’ll see a different Shepparton next year, definitely.’’
Victory’s defensive trio of Teon Haywood, Cameron Miles and Josh Walmsley were rocks at the back under immense pressure from the ever-dangerous Heffernan and Morning.
Carley was named player of the final, but took far greater pleasure in holding the cup aloft alongside Victory president Tony Startari.