Sebastopol claimed the Ballarat District Soccer Association men’s division one premiership in a tense encounter with Ballarat to draw away in extra-time.
After a nervous start to the game, once the Vikings settled into the game they produced some great soccer. BDSA leading goal-scorer Kuanyjal Tuany kicked the first of his three goals at the five-minute mark. Ballarat responded six minutes later before Tuany’s second in the 30th minute gave Sebastopol a 2-1 lead going into half-time. Ballarat’s Zak McAninly kicked the equalizer at the 51-minute mark before a hard-fought final 40 minutes saw the scores locked at 2-2.
The break in play allowed Sebastopol to refocus.
“We refocused. We got a chance to address the players, we just reinforced the message that we told them before the game,” coach Rod Oppenhuis said.
Scores remained level after the first 15-minute period of extra-time before Justin Robson eased the nerves with Sebastopol’s third goal with seven minutes to play as the side went into defensive mode to hold the lead. Once again Tuany showed his class to kick the sealer in the 120th minute. Oppenhuis said the relief was written all over the faces of the players as the result was put beyond doubt.
“When we went 3-2 up we automatically went into defensive mode. Once we got that fourth the relief was pretty evident on all the players. It was a feeling of euphoria among the players.”
After a slow start to the season, Sebastopol finished second on the ladder to Forest – who were bundled out in straight sets - and were one of the form sides heading into the finals series. The Vikings two-goal grand final triumph was its eighth win from the final nine weeks – with a round 17 draw against Forest the only blemish.
“We were pretty solid towards the end. Obviously Forest were the dominant side for the year. (But) we always knew our best football was going to be at the end of the year and that’s exactly what happened.”
Oppenhuis said Tuany was the difference in the match and he was also pleased with centre-back Jonathan Davey while he praised the massive effort the midfield delivered in the taxing encounter.
Warrnambool prevailed in a thrilling division one women’s grand final. It came from 1-0 down to equalize in the 71st minute which took the game to extra-time. Emily Whelan’s second goal late in the first period of extra-time proved the match-winner for a 2-1 victory over Ballarat North United.