Savoys on track for double
MYRTLEFORD has overcome a lacklustre start to book a place in this Sunday’s AWFA cup final where they will meet the only team they are yet to defeat this season, Boomers.
The Savoys required a Tommy Youngs golden goal in extra time to qualify for their fourth consecutive cup final as scores finished 1-1 after regular time with Melrose at Jelbart Park.
The game was expertly controlled early by Melrose as they kept the favourites quiet apart from long range efforts from star attackers Matthew Park and Tom Youngs.
Melrose, mainly through defenders Josh O’Brien and Todd Meehan controlled the tempo of the game and created the first major chance when star forward Trent Rixon hit the inside of both goal posts after 15 minutes.
Lachlan Arkinstall then put the Purple Haze on the board 10 minutes later against the run of play as the Savoys went to half time lifeless.
A spark was needed early in the second stanza and former AWFA star player Nathan Mirt was introduced for youngster Daniel Kioses.
Mirt delivered in spades with the veteran fantastic in providing the creativity Myrtleford had been lacking.
His left foot shot troubled goalkeeper Josh Fluss enough to see the ball trickle towards the goal line which resulted in the equaliser as Patrick Sibomana arrived for the easiest of tap-ins.
Sibomana in celebrations launched himself towards the Savoys’ marquee and from there the champions were ignited.
Jake Miles won a challenge inside their half and used Mirt who got the ball to Matthew Park but his shot was saved.
Fluss kept Melrose in the game as he pulled off another save from Youngs moments later but his luck seemed out as Park seemingly put the Savoys ahead, only to perhaps dubiously be ruled off-side.
Melrose’s star man Rixon was subbed off with a hip injury, but the Purple Haze after 75 minutes lifted.
In a short five minute burst the underdogs took it right up to the Savoys as Jayden Vesico was required to make a save and centre back Brenton Cook became busy.
Cook, the Savoy captain, turned in a fantastic performance with his defensive work brilliant.
It was on the counter however that the skipper almost set up a winning goal as his aerial through ball that travelled almost half the pitch landed perfectly for Youngs, but his 83rd minute shot could not beat Fluss.
Right on fulltime Park crossed a ball that was devastatingly close to being tapped in by Mirt as Myrtleford entered the extra period pressing.
Mirt was again involved in extra time as he flicked through Youngs, who with great composure, turned Fluss inside out and beat him at the near-post to send the Savoys through
Co-coach Jayden Vescio, said he felt the season’s best two teams were meeting in the final.
“Boomers have beaten us twice and we are obviously the league champions so I think it’s set up perfectly,” he said.
“They have a really good mix of players with some quality experience like (Andrew) Grove, Pete (Noordewier) and (Dustin) Patten and some good younger players.
“Hopefully it works against their younger players, when things go against you, you need those older guys to take it by the scruff and get you over the line.”
Vescio said he was happy for neutral AWFA fans to take the feel good story of the Boomers.
“It suits us absolutely perfect, when you have sustained success and everyone else misses out they can decide to go against you,” he said.
“Inside our own four walls at the footy club we love that and we want this success to keep going and going, but we have a big challenge this week…we haven’t beaten them (this year).”
Sunday’s kick-off is set for 3pm at Jelbart Park.
ONE MORE: Jake Miles again stood tall in Myrtleford’s defence as the Savoys booked their place in a fourth straight cup final.