Lake Wendouree 16.16 (112)
Melton 16.10 (106)
A LATE goal from Sam Clifton has handed Lake Wendouree a six-point victory over Melton at Melton Recreation Reserve on Saturday, minutes after the home side hit the front for the first time that day.
It was fitting in itself that Clifton, who would finish the match with six goals, kicked the winning goal as he, along with an inspirational performance from captain Ben Taylor, was the clear difference between the two sides.
The Lakers burst out of the blocks strongly, kicking five of the first six goals, three of which came from Clifton.
The Bloods appeared to have limited answer in the first term on how to quell the midfield of Lake Wendouree, with Taylor along with Brent Olszewski delivering plenty of ball into the forward line, resulting in nine scoring shots in the opening term to Melton’s four, giving the Lakers a 20 point lead at quarter time.
Melton came out with the full intention of taking advantage of the scoring end in the second term, and it showed as they kicked the first three goals of the quarter, courtesy of Andrew Heyde, David Clarke and Darren Haby. The Bloods looked fiercer at the contest and the Melton midfielders began to get their hands on the football.
It took a captain’s goal from Ben Taylor to steady the ship for the Lakers against the breeze, and this was followed by goals to Nick Aringo and Sam Clifton.
The Lakers managed to take a 21 point lead into half time but were fully aware of the possibility of a Melton charge.
A rejuvenated Melton side came out in the second half desperate to stamp their authority on the contest, and it showed once again as they managed to piece together a seven goal third quarter, with Jamie Kitchen, Dillon Sharp and Aiden Butler all making valuable contributions to the side’s resurgence.
Tim Malone continued to repel many of the Blood’s attacks, but the home side continued to grow in stature and confidence as it whittled down the Lake Wendouree lead to just four points at the final change.
The last term was a titanic struggle between the two sides, with Melton managing to hit the lead midway through the term, with Jamie Kitchen converting his third major.
The last half of the quarter was played out mainly in the Lakers’ half of the ground, however, it proved very difficult for them to score.
It took a courageous effort from Ben Hayes on the wing to allow for the ball to be delivered deep into the forward line, where Sam Clifton was able to mark and kick truly, handing the Lakers a memorable win.
Lake Wendouree coach Gavin Webb was relieved to get the four points.
“It’s a relief more than anything to get the win and give the boys a bit of confidence, we have been improving but we haven’t been getting the result we are after, and knowing that Melton are always tough to beat down here, it’s a really pleasing aspect.”
Melton Coach Bobby Heaney said that his major concern was his side’s decision making.
“The decision making and discipline were probably the two areas, our work rate was good but we were let down in those areas. We go into the break having won one game and lost three and two of those games we’ve been in front and lost, so realistically we could be three and two.”