THE Huskisson-Vincenita Seagulls have kept their 2018 Shoalhaven Football first grade premiership dreams alive, after a come from behind win against the Culburra Cougars on Sunday.
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At Ison Park, the Cougars jumped out to a 1-nil lead at the break before the Seagulls responded with two second half goals, to to secure the 2-1 win.
“Heading in the match, we had been in strong goal scoring form [scoring 12 in the two matches] but we knew Culburra, especially in a finals setting, were going to be a different proposition,” Seagulls coach Rob Hawker said.
“And the game played out as such, with the first half being extremely tight – the difference being a Mitch Blundell screamer, which is probably the best goal I’ve seen all season.
“There was nothing we could do about the shot except applaud it.”
At the break, trailing 1-nil, Hawker made some slight adjustments, to help his side get back into the match in the second half.
“I told the boys we can’t change what happened in the first half and it was up to us to respond like I know we are capable of,” Hawker said.
“To the boys credit, after emphasising the need to try and control the midfield, while also getting around their fullbacks – as their centre backs are so strong, you can’t go through them – we hit back.”
The first goal came off the boot of Gary Neimeier, 15 minutes after the resumption, before their second came with just under 20 minutes left on the clock, when a Michael Hampton header found the back of the net, from a free kick just outside the box.
“I thought we dominated the territory and the chances, thanks to our pressing, in the second half and thankfully finished two chances, an aspect we have been working on a lot at training the past month,” Hawker said.
“We could have had more, with Josh Hawker hitting the woodwork and us having a number of corners and free kicks in dangerous positions.
“Although Culburra pushed hard for an equaliser, I thought we held our structures well and held them out for a well deserved victory.”
Hawker, who credited all his troops for ‘doing their jobs’, and his team will now face Gerringong in the preliminary final on Saturday.
“At the start of the season, we aimed to have all three men’s grades in semi-finals,” Hawker said.
“Now we’ve achieved that goal, we want all three teams to reach the grand final and then go on to win the premiership.
“All the boys have worked extremely hard all season to be in this position and I know they aren’t going to let this opportunity slip – we want to win the competition.”
In the other minor semi-finals on Sunday at Ison Park, a Parker Solley goal helped Bomaderry edge out Gerringong in reserve grade, while Bomaderry smashed Callala 3-nil in third grade, thanks to goals form Nathan Kellett, Thomas Cooney and Kyle Lavender.
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