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Titans AA1 Defeated in a Thriller

posted Aug 29, 2015, 7:28 PM by CooksRiver Titans   [ updated Aug 29, 2015, 7:29 PM ]
On a perfect sunny day a script was written for the Cooks River Titans All Age Division 1 side to make history in claiming the Club’s 2nd title in its maiden year but that wasn’t to be as Roselands Raptors defeated the Titans 4-2 on penalties after a drama packed Grand Final yesterday at Campbell Park in Chiswick in front of nearly 250 supporters.

The game commenced as expected, fast, intense and with plenty of energy. It wasn’t long before the Titans advanced into the Raptors danger area and won a freekick just outside the penalty area. Yianni Kritikos lined up his shot and curled beautifully into the bottom right corner to take a 1-0 lead after just 7 minutes.

Yianni Kritikos with the freekick which gave he Titans the early lead.

Both sides created some decent half chances but the best chance of the first half fell to Jordy Bergh who beat his defender with pace to find himself one on one but his shot was somehow saved by the oncoming keeper with his instep.

The second half continued in the same vein as the first with some juicy tackles and plenty of vigour. Cooks River were the better technical team with some impressive passing passages of play with Minor Premiers Roselands more resorting to more of a hustling game and long balls.

It wasn’t long after the break when Roselands found themselves a man down for dissent from a player who was lucky not to have been red carded for the same offence in the first half.

The Titans now had the man advantage but Roselands battled hard to make it seem they had equal players on the field. Cooks River were somewhat wasteful in the front third and as the clock ticked down this was to eventually contribute to their downfall. The Raptors continued with their long ball and several times got in behind the Titans defence. The warning signs were there.

A big crowd was on hand at the AA1 Grand Final and they certainly witnessed a dramatic sequence of events

The game moved into to stoppage time and a square pass into the Roselands box hit the raised arm of a fallen Roselands defender but the shouts for a penalty fell on deaf ears. In a cruel twist of fate just moments later, a long ball down the other end put the Raptors striker in on goal and as he lined up his shot but a last gasp sliding block by Matthew Mastrobatista was for some reason deemed a penalty by the referee. Tass Psomas duly converted for Roselands to level the scores.

In the last minute of stoppage time, another long ball from Roselands was collected by keeper Costas Giannoukas but was barged over by the oncoming striker who subsequently received a yellow card but an exchange of words saw Giannoukas receive a red card to leave both teams down to ten men. David Dimakos was sent in between the sticks just as the referee blew full time and sent the match into 10 minutes each way of extra time.

In the 4th minute of extra time a cross from wide left was met at the back post by the youngest Titan Stephen Glinatsis to reclaim the lead. The rest of the first period was fairly even and players from both sides were running on empty but pushing on despite injury, cramps and general tiredness.

With 3 minutes to go in the second period of extra time Bergh again burst past his defender to be one on one with the Roselands keeper but again could not find a way past the Raptors custodian.

The Cooks River players were not content with winding down the clock but instead continued to attack and shoot from distance handing back cheap possession to their opponents. And they again paid the price when another long ball floated just outside the box but man of the match candidate Elias Xanthos could not get solid contact with his header and it fell to a Roselands player lurking out wide who thundered home a shot into the bottom left corner to send the Raptors crown into raptures and sent the game into penalties.

Now it was a lottery tipped heavily into Roselands favour with Cooks River without a proper goal keeper in goals. Misses from Shaquille Ali and David Dimakos along with Roselands hitting 4 from 4 meant Roselands won the penalty shoot out 4-2 and therefore were crowned an unlikely Champion on the day. The Cooks River team can be proud of their efforts in what was just their first year together at this brand new Club but will certainly look back at several events the match by all those on the field and question how this one got away.

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