Sebastopol Vikings has won promotion to Football Federation Victoria state league three in the most nail-biting fashion – a penalty shootout.
The Vikings travelled to Port Melbourne’s JL Murphy Reserve to face Fawkner, the reward for the playoff winner was promotion and after 90 minutes the sides were locked at 1-1.
Fawkner scored the opening goal after 35 minutes, the only goal for the first half while Ibrahim Ghulami provided the equaliser at the 75-minute mark.
Vikings controlled play for the most-part of extra-time, but could not find the back of the net, once again the whistle blew and the final position in FFV state league three would be decided by a penalty shootout.
Vikings slotted its first shot from the spot before goal-keeper Michael Henry provided the perfect start for Sebastopol as he kept out Fawkner’s first attempt. Both teams then nailed its next two shots before Sebastopol delivered its first blemish for the shootout, allowing Fawkner an opportunity to level. But once again the heroics were provided by Henry, who made his second save from four kicks as concern quickly turned to anticipation in the Vikings’ camp.
Sebastopol had the state league three position on its boot, and it was at the feet of a reliable man, Vikings’ leading goal-scorer Kuanyjal Tuany.
Tuany found the back of the net and the celebrations erupted as Vikings took out the penalty shootout 4-2.
An emotional coach Corey Smith said it was a proud day for the club on what he felt was one of, if not the, biggest day in its history.
“I’m absolutely stoked, I couldn’t be more proud of them, I’m emotional, myself – it hasn’t quite sunk in yet,” Smith.
Smith felt the occasion may have got to his group in the first half and said the side never consistently found its best soccer, but were able to work its way into the match as time went on. But the memorable victory was not one produced on pure skill or brilliance, but rather hard work and character.
I’m absolutely stoked, I couldn’t be more proud of them, I’m emotional, myself – it hasn’t quite sunk in yet.Vikings coach Corey Smith
“We didn’t play anywhere near our best, so I think we got over the line on pure heart, desire and teamwork.
“I don’t think we dealt with the pressure well in the first 45, the boys were a little bit off it, maybe the occasion got to them, but then in the second half we were by far the better team.”