Goalie saves game for Tokoroa
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.