Dural beaten 7-6 in the Penalty Shootout of the NSW Premier League Grand Final
Inner West Allstars 3 Dural Warriors 3 (Allstars win penalty shootout 7-6)
A depleted Inner West Allstars side had to dig deep to come from behind and win an epic Youth Grand final when at times they were barely hanging on in the contest.
With several key players missing from the side the Allstars used players from the 16’s side that had been beaten earlier and another defeat looked on the cards but they found the spark they needed to lift themselves up and win a memorable Grand Final.
Elliot Ragomo went close early with a stinging shot that Robert Greenway did well to save and Nathan Niski played a nice one-two with Blake Rosier but shot just wide.
Dural were spending most of their time in the Allstars half probing for an opening with Daniel Codrington having pot shots at goal from the edge of the area when the ball came to him and Elliott Ragomo shots were being being thwarted by Robert Greenway in goal.
Patrick Pace used all his experience to rally his side and was unlucky to see his shot crash onto the bar and away to safety.
It was a hard fought first half where Dural dominated possession and goal attempts as the Allstars worked their socks off to absorb the pressure and hit on the break. The two sides went to the break scoreless at half time.
In opening minute Dural went very close to opening the scoring but for Robert Greenway to cling on to Wade Giovenali’s attempt by his fingertips on the goal line.
Zac Caruana had fierce drive saved by the keeper but Dural were getting closer to scoring.
Blake Rosier broke the deadlock when a tired looking defence allowed him time and space to power a hard low shot across the keeper into the corner of the net to make it 1-0.
The Allstars fought back and Bruno Pivato fought his way through the defence but his shot was saved by Alastair Bruce in goal and George Khoury chased a ball into the corner but his cross just failed to be turned in at close range.
With 10 minutes to go Dural were all over the Allstars and they got the goal they were searching for when Elliot Ragomo sped down the left and crossed for Ryan Johnstone whose first attempt hit the bar but rebounded back to him and he was able to bundle the ball over the line to give Dural a confident 2-0 lead.
3 minutes later the Allstars grabbed a lifeline back into the game when George Khoury found space and sped down court and slammed a great shot past the keeper to make the score 2-1.
Elliot Ragomo came close but flashed a shot wide for Dural, but George Khoury’s emphatic goal galvanised something inside the Allstars souls and they could sense that one more goal would be enough to take it to extra time and they set about getting it.
Patrick Pace shot just over the bar and Andrew Mercuri shot just wide.
In the dying minutes Daniel Codrington could have wrapped it up for Dural but his shot went just wide.
With one minute left Dural were penalised for a foul in the area and Patrick Pace stepped up and confidently drilled the ball home for the Allstars to make it 2-2 and seal an unlikely late comeback.
Into extra time and the Allstars were a team transformed as Alastair Bruce did brilliantly to keep out a piledriver from Andrew Mercuri and Bruno Pivato went perilously close but hit the ball over the bar.
The Allstars contingent screamed with joy as Patrick Pace flew down court and passed to George Khoury who drilled the ball high into the net to make it 3-2 late in extra time.
Just when they thought it was all over the fighting Warriors from Dural hit back with virtually the last play of the game when they were awarded a freekick on the edge of the area. Elliot Ragomo stepped up and hit his shot at the wall but the rebound fell well for him and he smashed the ball into the net to make it 3-3 with seconds to go.
What a classic game of Futsal from both sides and now it came down to penalties.
In a truly nerve wracking shootout where both keepers Robert Greenway and Alastair Bruce made vital saves for their sides the game was poised at 6-6 in the shootout and Andrew Mercuri stepped up and drilled the ball into the net to give the Inner West Allstars a memorable victory.
There can only be one winner and the result was tough on a Dural side that had played brilliantly and were without the very influential Rhys Giovenali.
But nothing can be taken away from the Allstars who were just about gone before George Khoury’s goal sparked the comeback.
The Allstars teams had been favourites for most of the grand finals and had little to show for it all but this Youth mens side showed what real fight was all about and will proudly step up and take the spoils of victory in classic game from both sides.
12. Alastair Bruce
1. Ben Moon
9. Daniel Codrington
3. Elliot Ragomo
17. Zac Caruana
15. Blake Rosier
14. Ryan Johnstone
8. Wade Giovenali
5. Nathan Niski
4. Sameer Mokhtar
16. Sam Bingham
20. Aiden Dupen
Inner West Allstars
12. Robert Greenway
5. Andrew Mercuri
3. Alexander Crane
7. Patrick Pace
2. Bruno Pivato
8. George Khoury
Allstars – George Khoury 2, Patrick Pace
Dural – Elliot Ragomo, Ryan Johnstone, Blake Rosier
Fouls – Allstars 4
Dural – 6
Yellow Cards – Dural 1
Red Cards – none
Officials – Johnathon Moore, Gavin Lee, Daniel Luttringer