AFTER a loss in the semi-finals last year, Leongatha Knights women’s team were looking to prove themselves as they hosted Inverloch.
Kim Kirkus returned after injury and held the defensive line as per usual, clearing ball after ball Inverloch put through. Tori Martin worked alongside Kim to ensure Inverloch’s striker didn’t have a chance, stride for stride throughout the entire match.
Caitlin Charles guarded her wing with assistance from Ruby Box throughout the match. Izzy Kennedy provided a solid effort throughout the match.
Midfield saw the absence of Evie Bath, but it was Jasmine Garry, Laura Brennan, Noelia Phillips and Breanna Endres who worked tirelessly throughout the match to create plays and back up defence.
Jasmine putting on her usual performance and frazzling her opponents being absolutely relentless on the ball. Laura and Noelia shared the workload throughout the match and put their bodies on the line to ensure the Knights came out on top every time.
Breanna, only new to the role of midfield, made her presence felt and did her best to supply the forward players with some good balls.
Forward players Jordan Rintoule, Kiera Morrison, Xanthe Bruning and Sara Doolan knew they had tough competition in Inverloch’s defence but it didn’t take long for the Knights to get on the board with a beautiful goal from Jordan.
This spurred Inverloch on and soon saw an equaliser but this only pushed the Knights to play harder and smarter and at the end of the first half it was the Knights who had the advantage.
The second half saw both teams hungry for the ball, and the Lady Knights showed what they were truly capable of.
Kiera finished the day with four immaculate goals, Jordan with the game opener and midfielder Breanna managed to get on the board late on in the match.
Inverloch were fierce opponents, but the Knights came out on top finishing the day 6-2.
Leongatha Knights Reserves team played host to Inverloch, with a small chance of being able to participate in the finals hinging on their performance in this match.
Inverloch were sitting in 3rd spot on the ladder and assured of a finals berth.
Leongatha had decided to play regular keeper Chris Gale in the seniors and had promoted Toby Gale and looked to seniors player Jack Bainbridge to cover in goals.
Jarryd Bongers came into the side to play defence next to John Wilson, Lee Kirkus and Tom Murdoch, with Peter Doolan and Vincent Trease absent. Inverloch started the game in convincing form with an early goal that was on the board within the 1st minutes of the game.
Inverloch won a throw which went into the penalty box and was headed on towards the back post.
The Knights defence and keeper all looked for each other to take possession of the ball and it allowed an Inverloch player to rush in and get a foot on the ball and scoring the 1st goal of the match. 0-1.
Toby was working well with his defence, but carrying a hip injury meant that he was limited in being able to run out from goal.
Wade Bashaw, Andrew Shuttleworth, Jake Thomas and Tom Dortmans all started in midfield and it was Wade who was able to drive the Knights into scoring an equalising goal.
His corner kick was met at the front post by Tom Murdoch, who was able to get a quick deflection into an Inverloch defender only for the ball to come back to him and allow a more solid shot that went between players and into the back of the net. 1-1. The game was now very much alive and both teams started to make forward runs looking for the next goal.
Inverloch won a penalty when an attacker was tackled from behind, with the referee having no option to award a free, and once inside the box its an automatic penalty. Inverloch duly converted and the score was back to a single goal lead. 1-2.
Inverloch were having the better of the 1st half and were able to score a 3rd goal with the same tactics that provided the 1st; a long throw was headed onto the back post where the ball this time bounced over the head of an attacking Knights defender and allowed the Inverloch player and easy shot on goal. 1-3.
Half time saw the Knights change keeper and it was Jack’s turn in goal. Matthew Wardle and Joel Moore would benefit from the change as Jack had the ability to send clearing kicks well over the half way line and provide a entry into attack that had been missing in the 1st half.
The Knights couldn’t take advantage, whilst they pressed home the long kicks they were unable to get the ball into the back of the net.
And when a goal kick was intercepted by an Inverloch attacker he was able to take quick advantage of the defence being unprepared for the occurrence and in a 1 on 1 duel with the keeper was able to score and put the Inverloch team in a solid 1-4 lead. This was the final score.
Chris Gale was stepping up to fill the void left by injured keeper Charlie Dougherty, in a difficult choice given he is the reserves captain.
Tom Barker started the game in defence in place of Nicholas Bongers who was absent along with Matt Taylor who had work duties.
John Stephen, Stuart McNaughton and Cameron Rothnie in defence alongside Tom. Jack Bainbridge, Brian Gannon, Fergus Warren and Same Bainbridge in midfield and Patrick O’Meara and Blake Moscript in attack.
Some of the best chances of the day were when Gabe Brennan substituted on and together with Patrick they were able to take advantage on through balls and passing between themselves.
Unluckily they still had to beat Gene Parini in goal and he was up to the task a number of times and was one of the main reasons the Leongatha didn’t have plenty of goals.
When it wasn’t the keeper, it was their inability to remain onside that kept he score at nil all.
Fergus made two forward runs that were both adjudged to have been from an offside position.
Both times he was able to put the ball into the net only for the referee to raise his arm to signal a free kick Inverloch’s way.
Sam had one of his better halves in the 2nd and he was able to win a number of balls that started to make a difference between the 2 teams.
When Sam took a ball deep into the Inverloch defence he was able to influence a defender into an error and give away a free kick.
John stepped up and his kick was well taken and directed at the back post. With Gabe charging in towards the ball the Inverloch keeper second guessed that Gabe would make contact and held his ground rather than concentrate on the ball already in flight.
Luckily for the Knights team Gabe didn’t get anything onto the ball and it was allowed to continue its flight into the back of the net. 1-0.
This goal was the full result of the day’s play and kept the Knights in the hunt for 1st spot on the ladder and the recognition of finishing the home and away season as the top side.