Goalie saves game for Toko­roa

South Waikato News - - SPORT -

Great de­ter­mi­na­tion and char­ac­ter paved the way for a his­toric win for the Toko­roa Ladies in the in­au­gu­ral Soc­cer Shop Plate Fi­nal in Hamil­ton on Sun­day.

By far their tough­est game of the sea­son, Toko­roa looked more than com­fort­able fac­ing Ngaru­awahia, a B division side.

Heidi Pene slot­ted in from close range to open the scor­ing, to the de­light of trav­el­ling sup­port­ers.

Ngaru­awahia equalised but player- coach Kura Fal­leni re­gained the lead be­fore half­time with a long-range ef­fort.

In the sec­ond half Ngaru­awahia drew level again, but within two min­utes of the restart Toko­roa’s Jane Honey scored with a great in­di­vid­ual run and strike to get their third and de­ci­sive goal.

Ngaru­awahia were re­lent­less as they sought their third, and in the dy­ing sec­onds a free kick crashed into the inside of the post and out.

The last play of the game gave Ngaru­awahia a great op­por­tu­nity to force ex­tra time, but goal­keeper Me­gan Jones pulled off one of the best saves of the year to se­cure a 3-2 vic­tory.

The win in the Plate Fi­nal caps off a great year for the Ladies side. Af­ter de­mol­ish­ing the C division league, they can set their sights on B division football next year with con­fi­dence. Toko­roa Mens Re­serves Com­pla­cency al­most cost the Re­serve side as they squan­dered a 2-0 lead late in the sec­ond half against Cam­bridge, but they were saved by an ‘‘Izzy’’ Mo­hommed won­der strike just mo­ments be­fore the fi­nal whis­tle.

With no score at the break, Toko­roa took the as­cen­dancy af­ter Des Phillips opened the scor­ing and ‘‘Dig­ger’’ Fitz­patrick fol­lowed up with a right foot screamer that only he was ca­pa­ble of.

Foot­ballers of­ten talk of the dread of a 2-0 lead and Cam­bridge gained the mo­men­tum af­ter a cross went un­touched and some­how found its way di­rectly into the net.

An equaliser min­utes later showed how quickly games can turn, and even some of the Toko­roa home sup­port­ers sensed a hint of doom.

These fears were height­ened as lo­cal ref­eree Colin McLean re­duced Toko­roa to 10 men for the last 10 min­utes.

Cam­bridge proved to be the authors of their own demise as they un­nec­es­sar­ily tried to play out from the back.

The ball found its way to Mo­hommed’s feet and his strike from dis­tance is now set in Toko­roa’s foot­balling his­tory.

Win­ning four from four in the Chal­lenge Round se­ries, Toko­roa have earned home field ad­van­tage in next week’s fi­nal against the sec­ond of the Cam­bridge sides. Up­com­ing Fix­tures Satur­day, Septem­ber 8. Mens Re­serves v Cam­bridge 2, Chal­lenge Round Fi­nal, Strath­more Park, 2pm.

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