#AA4 vs Coogee United FC 4-3 AET Sponsored by Steggles – We’re Stegglers for quality
WOW WOW WOW!
So let’s set the scene – Dunbar v Coogee – many people have said this would be the grand finale, content with this being semi final one the teams were ready for an epic encounter. The teams have played 3 times already this season with Coogee winning twice and a draw. The gap had been closing, 4-2, 3-2 and 1 all suggested that this would be a tight affair and it was.
The theatre for the occasion was Heffron 5 (a field that was in marvellous condition) and the prize for the winner was a place in the grand final on the synthetic pitch behind. Dunbar were buoyant from the previous week’s 6-1 victory over Easts whilst Coogee had the week off. Dunbar’s preparation was hampered by injuries to player-coach Dale Quartey and leading goal scorer Dave Lynes, both only confirming their participation the night before. Adam Hobbs saw his season ended by a dislocated shoulder the previous week whilst skipper Simon Botterill was too busy on kiss cam in New York to be at the game, Andy Morris was on a golf weekend away and Jack Lamacraft & Ross Compton were running the city to surf. Ross Haughton took on the management duties following his nose operation (penis enlargement) with Dom Miller and Tom O’Neill stepping up from the 5s.
So as described above, we had a number of players out but the talk was positive and feeling amongst the team was that a win was on the cards. The start didn’t really go to plan as Coogee missed a couple of early chances, Quartey saving well from no. 9 Liam Curd before the same player rounded the keeper but a heavy touch saw the ball run out of play. Not to be denied, Coogee scored not long after with a goal from Gab Woolf. This was the first time in the 4 meetings that Coogee had scored first. A slow start to by Dunbar, duly punished by Coogee. This however only spurred the Rovers on, and Del Boy came off the bench to score a sublime goal for his 21st of the season. One all at half time.
The half time team talk was about remaining tight and not giving Coogee an inch. The game was a tight affair with chances to both teams. In particular Coogee were winning (rightly or wrongly) a host of freekicks with them time and again finding space in the box. The balls in were too good for either side to make contact with until Quartey saved athletically from a Curd header. Dunbar were again punished when following a another freekick space was found in the box and Newby was up from the back to score. 2-1 Coogee. Dunbar piled on the pressure, switching to 3 up front in search of an equalising goal. With 4 minutes left Dunbar won a corner, everyone was up including Quartey from goal but the ball ended up out for a goal kick. Then another corner, again up when Quartey. The corner turned to a throw which lead to another throw which was launched into the area by Abhi. Quartey still up (too tired to get back) jumped, headed and turned to see the ball settle into the bottom corner. A goal from the most unlikely source and 2 all with 25 seconds to go. None of the crowd could believe it, definitely not the Coogee or Redfern teams who were waiting to kick off.
Extra time it was and so it started, both teams knowing that 30 minutes of high stakes football was to follow. Coogee took the lead from the penalty spot. Quartey going from hero to zero when he pulled back Woolf when clean through on goal. Penalty awarded, no complaints but the complaints did come, from Coogee in fact. The referee not seeing fit to issue a yellow or a (deserved) red card for the denial of a clear goalscoring opportunity. Newby scored the penalty despite the best efforts of Quartey who got two hands to the ball but now 3-2 Coogee and they were firmly in the driving seat.
Dunbar were soon on level terms when Dom Miller took control of the ball in the box, moved it passed a defender and finished to spare the blushes of the Rovers keeper and breathe new life into the contest. That was Millers 3rd goal for the AA4s coming 2 years after his last. As the game moved into the final stanza, everything was to play for. Both teams attacked and defended like their lives depended on it. This season when Dunbar have needed a goal, it’s often been talismanic striker Del Boy Lynes who has come to the rescue and this week was no different. Despite giving away a significant height advantage the little striker rose in the box to score his 22nd of the season and put Dunbar ahead with time running out. Rumours of Lynes being tapped up by reserve grade next season are unfounded and the AA4s are looking to put pen to paper on a new mega mac deal to keep the striker in the squad.
Try as they might Coogee couldn’t get the equaliser. The final act being a long range Coogee freekick being parried over the bar. The final whistle brought elation to Dunbar and commiserations to Coogee. The game was played in fantastic spirit by two great teams and it was Dunbar who secured their place back in the grand final after 2015 and a chance to go one better. Well played to Coogee, great competitors and an even better bunch of lads.
Next week Coogee face Heffron who won on penalties against Easts, good luck to both teams. Whoever they face, the lads from Dunbar will enjoy their victory and prepare fully for the grand final.
There were bloody loads – all waiting for the next game to start!
No picture to support it as Steph was shellfish and didn’t come!