Triple threat

The Cobram Courier - - SPORT -

Co­bram Roar have made the his­toric step of se­cur­ing three spots in the 2017 AWFA grand fi­nal, with the se­nior men, re­serves and un­der-18s all mak­ing the big stage.

Not since 1976 has Co­bram had all three top-age sides com­pete in the grand fi­nal, a fan­tas­tic ef­fort in only the se­cond sea­son in the Al­bury-Wodonga Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion.

Se­niors

The se­nior men came out against Al­bury United on Sun­day, a team that had pre­vi­ously de­feated them on both oc­ca­sions this sea­son but only by one-goal mar­gins.

Co­bram had an un­changed squad for the first time all sea­son, with Nathan Thomas pass­ing a late fit­ness test to start the match.

Co­bram started the brighter and al­most took an early lead when a per­fectly placed Billy Mar­shall free kick looked des­tined for the top cor­ner but was de­nied by an even bet­ter save by the United goal­keeper.

It was a mid­field bat­tle as both sides de­fended tightly. United cre­ated some chances late in the half but their shots were well off tar­get and scores were level at the break.

Af­ter half-time Co­bram seemed to get on top but clear chances were still hard to come by as United marked both the Bills very tightly, but they were still look­ing the more likely to score as Co­bram keeper Sam Var­ley was rarely tested.

Tyler See­brook was in­tro­duced on the hour mark and his speed caused plenty of con­cern down the right wing but that elu­sive goal just wouldn’t come.

Ray­mondo Di­ra­macca was do­ing plenty of good work down the left as Co­bram cre­ated plenty of for­ward thrusts but the United de­fence re­mained strong.

Marc Star­tari was in­tro­duced for the tir­ing Thomas and the fresh legs in the mid­field lifted Co­bram another gear — but no goals in reg­u­lar time.

Ex­tra time be­gan with a golden goal in play and it only took Co­bram three min­utes to seal the win when a goal kick from Var­ley was flicked over by Gatcum and the bounc­ing ball was met first by Billy Mar­shall who lobbed his shot over the United keeper and into the back of the net send­ing the Co­bram faith­ful wild in cel­e­bra­tion as he sealed a spot in the 2017 grand fi­nal, the club’s first AWFA grand fi­nal. Score: 1-0. Goal: B. Mar­shall.

Re­serves

Co­bram started strongly against Wan­garatta, with Josh Koop­man break­ing through on goals with only the keeper to beat only to shoot over the bar.

Wan­garatta man­aged to take the lead af­ter 20 min­utes, as Co­bram seemed very flat go­ing into the break.

Af­ter half-time a very dif­fer­ent Co­bram side came out to play and got just re­wards on the hour-mark when Nathan Stoate made no mis­take tak­ing on his de­fender be­fore slot­ting the goal.

From then on it was end-to-end foot­ball as both sides came close to seal­ing a win but it couldn’t be de­cided in reg­u­lar time.

In ex­tra time both sides started to tire and it still could have gone either way with Wang be­ing de­nied in the fi­nal min­utes with a great shot from the top of the box, well saved by keeper Jake Keating as the match went into penal­ties.

Wan­garatta missed their first penalty by for­mer Co­bram cap­tain Madeira as Me­ola, San­toro and Nankav­ille all slot­ted home their kicks for the Roar.

Wan­garatta then missed their se­cond shot, leav­ing it up to young­ster Joseph Bal­lerini to slot home his penalty and record a mas­sive win.

Co­bram will now take on Al­bury City, who caused a mas­sive up­set in the pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal, de­feat­ing league cham­pi­ons Al­bury United. Score: 5-3. Goal: N. Stoate. Penal­ties: C. Me­ola, N. San­toro, J. Nankav­ille, J. Bal­lerini.

Di­vi­sion three men (un­der-18)

The un­der-18s had a very tough game to get through to the grand fi­nal, pushed all the way by Wodonga Di­a­monds.

Co­bram failed to take many of their great chances, with scores level at half-time.

Af­ter the break it was more of the same un­til Roar was awarded a penalty, which Hamish Sweeny con­verted.

Di­a­monds pushed for an equaliser but Roar hung on and booked a spot in the grand fi­nal against Al­bury United. Score: 1-0. Goal: H. Sweeny.

Un­der-11

Co­bram was the bet­ter side and cre­ated plenty of chances, but against the run of play Myrtle­ford man­aged to break the dead­lock.

Co­bram pushed for­ward in num­bers but just couldn’t find that elu­sive goal, leav­ing the young­sters shat­tered go­ing down 0-1. Score: 0-1.

Cor­rect score: Co­bram Roar’s un­der-18s are head­ing to an ex­cit­ing grand fi­nal berth af­ter eclips­ing Wodonga Di­a­monds with the only goal of the game.

Howzat: Co­bram Roar re­serves ham­mered Wan­garatta in a penalty shoot-out on Sun­day to as­sert their grand fi­nal sta­tus.

Vic­to­ri­ous: Co­bram Roar se­nior men top­pled Al­bury United on Sun­day with a thrilling fin­ish in the Al­bury-Wodonga Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion.

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