GERRINGONG v PORT PUMAS | AA1 CL GRAND FINAL | MATCH REPORT
Gerringong completed the All Age 1 league and grand final double on Saturday afternoon with a 2-1 win over Port Kembla Pumas at a wet Ian McLennan Park.
The Pumas led early through Jordan Invernon before the Breakers scored in the second half to send the match into extra time where Jordan Lando proved the hero with a 99th-minute winner.
The opener took just five minutes and came right after Paul Gaffney forced Pumas goalkeeper Josh Sebben into a solid save. The ball was played upfield where a cross came in from the left for Invernon at the far post to head past Gerringong custodian Joel Lockard.
Lockard prevented Port from doubling their advantage in the 40th minute when the goalkeeper made a low save off Ben Zucco’s driven free-kick from 35 metres out.
Gerringong had a couple of decent opportunities late in the half with Gaffney scuffing an effort wide and Jake Packham having a header cleared inside the six-yard box by Pumas captain Karl Pajkovic.
The match was all square eight minutes into the second half when Rhyley Foenander found space in the middle of the box, before turning his markers inside out and picking out the bottom right corner.
Packham had two chances to push Gerringong ahead in the middle stages of the half. The first was an effort which flashed across goal while the second saw Sebben pull off a strong save.
Gaffney had a speculative hit from distance with only a few seconds remaining but Sebben showed a clean pair of hands to send the match into extra time.
In the first minute of extra time, Lockard found himself stranded well outside his box after coming to clear the ball. Zac Nicholas looked to find the empty net from 35 metres out, however, his lob drifted to the left.
A couple of minutes later the Pumas were reduced to 10 players when Chris Stevanovski was sent from the pitch. The Port attacker received a yellow card for throwing the ball away after being booked for simulation in the closing stages of regular time.
Gerringong pushed home their advantage and grabbed the lead in the final minute of the first period of extra time. Gaffney broke down the left wing and played in a cross for Lando with the Breaker sliding in and knocking the ball past Sebben.
Port tried to restore parity in the second half of extra time, however, Andrew Kyriacou was twice denied by Lockard in the Gerringong net.
The Breakers nearly had a third through Daniel Layson when his miskicked his shot at the end of a quick counter, however, it didn’t matter with the full-time whistle blown shortly after.
The grand final victory seals the Breakers’ second piece of silverware since joining Football South Coast in 2019.
Gerringong coach Andy Lockard said it was a tough contest and said his side intends on pushing up the divisions in the years to come.
“The tussle was amazing,” Lockard explained.
“Port had a clear plan and they really put us under the pump in the first 20 minutes. We conceded the goal but we always had the faith we would get it done in the end.
“We want to go up, we deserve to go up. We have a good atmosphere, we’re a family club and the pathways are set.”
The defeat ends a strong season for the Pumas with the side finishing just five points behind Gerringong and 12-points clear of third-placed Dandaloo.
There was some compensation for Port Kembla with the side taking out the second grade grand final with a 1-0 win against Oak Flats.
Gerringong 2 (Rhyley Foenander 53’, Jordan Lando 99’)
Port Pumas 1 (Jason Invernon 5’)
Player of the match: Adam Martin
Gerringong: 2. ASTIN Nicholas, 16. BAXTER Jason, 5. DAVISON Doug, 12. FOENANDER Rhyley, 4. FRANKS Robert, 14. GAFFNEY Paul, 3. GALLAGHER Matt, 8. JONES Matt, 13. LAYSON Daniel, 1. LOCKARD Joel, 18. MOES Karl, 15. PACKHAM Jake, 9. VIAN Gary, 11. WOODS Josh, 6. MARTIN Adam, 10. LANDO Jordan
Port Pumas: 6. CARVANA Cristian, 9. CHALGHGIAN Harout, 12. CHICHARO Robert, 22. GIORGIO Daniel, 3. GUINERY Michael, 17. INVERNON Jason, 19. KYRIACOU Andrew, 24. METCALF Robert, 20. NICHOLAS Zac, 4. PAJKOVIC Karl, 1. SEBBEN Josh, 21. STEVANOVSKI Chris, 5. STOJANOSKI Matt, 15. SUAREZ Andrew, 16. ZUCCO Ben
Date: 24 October 2020
Venue: Ian McLennan Park
Referee: Brendon Fotheringham
Assistant Referees: Stuart Bell and Steven Payne
Report and photo by Dylan Arvela, on Twitter @dylanarvela