Last Sunday was a pretty special day for the Geelong Soccer Club taking out the trifecta of wins, the U15s won comfortably 3-0 over Geelong Rangers, and our Division 2 Mens defeated Corio 1-0, but it was an emphatic U17’s in an absolute nail biter 2-1 extra-time win over Barwon Blue that had the huge crowd urging the referee to blow the final whistle. Our Open Women narrowly lost their Grand Final, but they should be proud of their achievements in only their 2nd year of playing together.
U17 Boys team could ill afford to under estimate Barwon Blue’s resolve as they knocked out League Champions Lara in the semi’s just a week ago. Captain Dylan Stojanovski won the toss and pointed to the clubhouse end at Myers Reserve having the wind advantage. Right from the kickoff the pressure was on with teams squandering early opportunities. Keeper Rhett Joy produced a fantastic one on one save as Barwon kept finding holes in Geelong’s defence despite Geelong dominating possession early in the half. The Geelong faithful were euphoric 15 minutes in after the referee awarded a free kick from a Barwon hand ball about 30mts from goal. Jordan Rendevski has earned himself a reputation for scoring freakish goals this season and this one didn’t disappoint as he charged in and blasted it round the wall, curling it past the stranded keeper, Justin Sirotich and into the far ”pigeon hole” corner. The Coach’s box erupted in cheers as the boys on the park celebrated 1-0. Barwon raised the tempo making the state of play scrappy and neither side were able to really threaten the score line again before the half time break.
The second half started much as the first ended with Barwon dictating the terms and Geelong losing its shape and it wasn’t long before Barwon equalized after some poor defending allowed Barwon’s striker fired past a blameless Rhett. Despite all efforts Geelong found itself under serious pressure for much of the remaining half hour. Rhett Joy was the hero again conjuring two critical saves in the dying minutes.
The final whistle of normal time would see a 1-1 deadlock and the match forced into two ten minute periods of extra time and a real possibility of a penalty shot out. With the onset of extra time looming Coach Dean Brown rallied his team and urged them to take back control. Right from the restart Geelong slowed the game back to their pace and after sting of passes, Alberto Lopez went on one of his trademark runs down the right wing, cut back in and pounced goal ward. Diving to his right Sirotich could only shovel the ball out into the path of a storming Jimmy Vo who in typical “Hollywood” style was all ready celebrating before the ball was in the net. That was three minutes into extra time and with Shiva, Jimmy, Jordan, Dylan, Billy and Alberto having played in the State League3 reserves team the day before, a tired Geelong held Barwon at bay for the next 17 minutes to record one of the most memorable Grand Final wins in years.