THE Gerringong Breakers have qualified for their third straight Shoalhaven Football first grade final, after coming back to defeat the Huskisson-Vincentia Seagulls in extraordinary fashion.
At Ison Park, Rob Hawker’s Seagulls made the perfect start, when his son Josh scored in the 16th minute, a lead they kept until half-time.
After the break, the men in green and white extended their lead, again from the boot of Josh Hawker, in the 53rd minute.
Just when it appeared the Seagulls had one foot in the grand final, the Breakers hit back through the dangerous Jordan Lando.
Then in the blink of an eye, the game turned on its head.
The Breakers equalised in contentious circumstances, where the Seagulls thought goalscorer Kane Rowe was offside, but the lineman’s flag stayed down.
Following this decision, both Michael Hampton and Brendan Hiriart were shown straight red cards for dissent to the referee – leaving the Seagulls with nine men with 20 minutes of regulation to play.
Despite both team’s best efforts, neither could find a third goal, which saw the game end 2-all after 90 minutes.
Against the run of play, Huskisson-Vincentia managed to poke their noses back in front when Jayden Lee scored in the first five minutes of extra-time.
But, staying true to form of the match, Jadon Lavington’s Breakers would again find an equaliser, when Rowe scored his second for the match with two minutes remaining.
In the dying moments, both teams pushed hard for the all important winner but neither could find the back of the net, sending the game to penalties.
From the spot, Breakers’ Rowe and Nick Astin held their nerve, while goalkeeper Javid Sadrnia pulled off a number of saves, to send Gerringong through to the final.
In the loss, Alex Boardman was the only Seagull to convert his penalty, while 18-year-old goalkeeper Chris Tweed did all he could, with three stunning saves.
“All of the boys are gutted to lose in that fashion – if it was 11 on 11, fair enough but to lose two men, in those circumstances is a tough pill to swallow,” Hawker said.
“Everyone at the club are extremely proud of the boys, who I know will learn from this loss.”
On the flip side, Lavington was extremely proud of the way his team fought back.
“The boys showed plenty of fight to snatch the draw, after being behind for most of the game,” Lavington said.
“We held our nerve from the spot, with special mention to goalkeeper Javid Sadrnia, who really stepped up and won us the match.”
In reserve grade, goals from Brodie Chapman and Nathan Wright saw Bomaderry defeat Huskisson 2-1, despite a goal from Adam Russell.
While a Thomas Ganderton goal proved the difference, as Bomaderry edged Culburra 1-nil in third grade.