Shoalhaven United 1
ILLAROO have secured their spot in the Shoalhaven District Football Competition semi-final after the team trumped traditional rivals and competition champions United at Lyrebird Park on Saturday.
To make it to the semi-finals, Illaroo needed to win their game and have Bomaderry lose or draw with Gerringong.
Besides the on-field banter, this game was hot topic among the players, with regular updates spurring on the Illaroo players.
Two late goals to Illaroo’s coach and captain Andrew Timbs gave them what they needed to progress in the tight competition.
The first half started fairly even with the ball see-sawing from end to end with both teams getting plenty of chances but unable to deliver.
A clear chance went begging in the 42nd minute when United had the opportunity to get up before the break.
Smart play by the United attackers had an open goal with the goalkeeper well out of the question.
But some fast thinking from Illaroo’s fullback John Muggleton had him standing as the final line of defence to deflect a United shot and keep Illaroo hanging on.
The two frustrated teams went to half-time nil-all.
Timbs said his advice to his team at half-time was to be patient.
“We had our chances in the first half so we just needed to keep doing what we were doing, be patient, and change things if they needed to be changed as the game went on,” he said.
Thirteen minutes into the second half United received a free kick which led to an eventual goal which brought the score to 1-nil.
A scramble in the box which included Matt Fuz and a fumble by the Illaroo keeper gave Michael Binney a kick which found the back of the net.
Eight minutes later Illaroo bounced back to equalise after they took the ball down the left hand side of the field and a pass found Timbs just outside the box.
A powerful kick by Timbs deflected off a United player to find the back of the net.
With five minutes left to play, Illaroo were desperate for another goal to keep their season alive.
Illaroo had moved into attacking mode, which saw Joey Leedham move in to the midfield to give them the best chance.
Again good lead-up passing work found Timbs, who delivered another cracking kick which soared past the keeper, this time unassisted by a United player.
His team were jubilant in their celebration, tackling Timbs to the ground.
But they soon knuckled down and managed to hold on for the remaining minutes to take the 2-1 win.
“It was a good result. It was what we needed. We didn’t play our best, but to get the points was good,” Timbs said.
“It is good preparation coming into the semis. We haven’t lost a game in the second round and to do what we have done has left the team on a massive high. There is a really good feeling at the club at the moment and we hope we can take this momentum into next week.”
Timbs praised his team for lifting their intensity after they were 1-nil down, a time where at the start of the season they would have dropped their heads.
“When we found out there was a draw at Gerringong, that lifted the boys even more. To have that put a bit of spirit in them,” he said.
With four first grade players out for various reasons and the number one position secured, United coach Trevor Skingle used this game to give all of the players on his bench some game time, including some young reserve grade players.
“In saying that, the players that came up to play are good enough to be in first grade,” he said.
“I was happy with the way we played. The blokes stood up and did the job well.”
Skingle said that he is surprised that Bomaderry and Huskisson are not in the finals considering their early season form.
“At the start of the season three danger teams were Sussex, Bomo and Husky. I would never have picked that Husky and Bomo were not in the four,” he said.
“But I am bloody glad they’re not.”
His team will play Culburra next Saturday for a spot in the grand final.
Skingle said that having the championship under their belts has led to his team relaxing the last couple of games, but they plan to turn up the intensity this week so they are ready for Culburra.
“Culburra definitely deserve to be there. But we have training on Wednesday and Friday so we will be ready for Saturday,” he said.
Illaroo will face Sussex in the minor semi final next Sunday.
“It’s going to be a tough one,” Timbs admitted.
“We have beaten everyone at least once except for them. They have a couple of players we have to watch, but we will work on that in training this week. I am confident it will be a good game, and hopefully we can get the job done.”