THE South Coast Star’s Under 13 team has delivered their club the first ever piece of silverware.
The Under 13s defeated Leongatha in a thrilling 1-0 game on Saturday for the Korumburra Cup, in perfect conditions at the Loch Memorial Reserve.
The Under 16s grand final between Wonthaggi and Korumburra was another close game – Wonthaggi winning by one goal.
On Sunday during the seniors’ games the cups left South Gippsland for Trafalgar (women) and Drouin (men).
Leongatha started with the kick-off but it was an already exhausted team that took to the ground with a number of players competing in the shorthanded Under 16 team.
South Coast came on with plenty of promise, fresh legs, but a significant height disadvantage – the stars fielding a number of Under 11s.
The Stars used the wings well early but Leongatha’s sweeper provided some good attacking play, however it was near impossible to get through the congested midfield.
Leongatha’s Joaquin Alba was fleet-footed along the wings but his shots casually slid past the post or were strongly kicked well over the bar.
The Stars responded immediately to the attempts, bouncing back quickly while Leongatha rued the opportunity; in one such instance a good team goal was finished off by Eamonn Toomey.
At half time Stars led 1-0.
More attempts by Leongatha were expertly stopped by Star keeper Nic Matheson, who followed up on the rebounds and gave good direction to his team.
Jasper Kempster and Mav Matheson were inspired, running up and down the wings all day.
In the end, Leongatha ran out of legs and the Stars played a strong defensive second half to take the win.
A fast pace set off the Under 16 grand final between Korumburra and Wonthaggi on the Saturday afternoon; in the first half Korumburra was looking to get a quick lead but the speculative shots were shut down by Wonthaggi’s 11 year-old keeper Blake Cornelis.
Korumburra used its height advantage to control the aerial game but Wonthaggi hit back with speed and superior skill to bring the ball back down to the feet.
Wonthaggi’s Kai Jamieson was looking dangerous with his speed advantage over the usually disciplined Liam Miller – the foul just outside the box gave Wonthaggi its first chance, but the ball spilled out.
When the second Wonthaggi striker Nick Lawson joined with Jamieson, it was a potent combination, but the half ended with little excitement.
In the second half Wonthaggi settled and with James Bak leading from the back and providing lots of voice, Wonthaggi looked the better team despite some promising runs from Aidan Richards and good defence by Oscar Drake.
A corner late in the half saw some confusion in the Korumburra defence, the deflection finding Nick Lawson for the winning goal.
Exhausted teams took to the pitch in the longest match of the day as the shadows were getting long at the Loch Memorial Reserve on Sunday.
The ping-pong start had some points of promise, Korumburra’s fresh-legged Tara Wallace providing a focal point up front and keeper Chloe Rodda clearing up any wayward shots.
Rodda’s cleaning up duties was almost the undoing of Korumburra early, but Trafalgar’s shot went wide.
It was from one of Rodda’s long booming kicks, and a resultant throw in into the box that found Wallace, who stomached the ball down and chipped it over Trafalgar’s new keeper.
Trafalgar was pushing forward with long balls, but heavy touches gifted the ball to Rodda.
In the second half Korumburra looked exhausted and a loss in concentration saw a long ball from Trafalgar, finally find the sweet spot and finished off by Amanda Steen.
In overtime, Trafalgar finally took some time to control the ball before booting it off; a throw in saw Joelene Lawkens control the ball and the shot sailed over Rodda’s hand while she was madly shuffling backwards, for the goal and the cup.
Twelve minute halves ensured the seniors game between last year’s cup winners Mirboo North and Drouin was going to be fast and furious.
Drouin took the initiative early slicing through Mirboo North’s usual Under 19s team and using some fancy footwork to put United off its game.
A back heel pass found Nick Woodson who put the smashing shot beyond the reach of Mirboo North’s Andrew Soplakow.
Mirboo North was quick in the response, some cracking shots by Mohammed Rasuli just off the mark.
It seemed only a matter of time before United equalled the ledger and the best shot came from Soplakow, brought up to 30 metres from the goal after a foul.
Soplakow’s shot winded Drouin’s goal keeper Matt Borthwick, but he recovered quickly. Rasuli by this time was covered by Drouin’s key backman Steve Smythe and Rasuli’s influence on the game waned.
Mirboo North couldn’t get back the momentum and with nearly crippled players and no substitute bench tired and gifted Drouin with the win.