Thirroul Thunder secured their fifth consecutive District League Second Grade title with an eventful 2-1 win over Oak Flats Falcons on a rainy Saturday afternoon at Ian McLennan Park.

It was a tale of two halves as all three goals came in the first period with Thirroul opening the scoring in the 24th minute through Jordan Cox before Oak Flats answered within minutes when Joshua Swinton scored one of the goals of the season to put his side level in the 27th minute.

Thirroul went ahead again in the 38th minute with a goal from eventual player of the match Lachlan Dunn which was enough for them to secure the grand-final victory.

The action began in a rapid pace with both sides looking to gain an early advantage, the Falcons were almost rewarded in the 12th minute when David Kotric found himself open from a corner but his header narrowly missed the back post.

Thirroul opened the scoring in the 24th minute when a deflected shot bounced straight to Cox in the box, he powered his shot into the roof of the net to give his side the lead.

Soon after the Thunder were agonisingly close to doubling their advantage when Dunn’s header from a corner beat the keeper but was just saved off the line by Luke Day at the back post.

Oak Flats desperately needed an answer to Thirroul’s constant pressing and found it through a world-class strike from Swinton. Adam Casey’s cross found Swinton at the end of the box, before he sliced the ball on the half volley and watched it sail into the back of the net to put his side level and gave himself, the club and the fans a grand-final goal they’ll never forget.

The Falcons could have been in the lead in the 31st minute when Alex Bausch made an incredible solo run from his own half and had a powerful shot from 25 metres out which forced Chris Wearing into an outstanding save.

The Thunder regained their lead in the 37th minute when a free-kick was awarded outside the box for a handball, the following cross found Dunn at the back post where he made no mistake slotting his header home to put his side up 2-1

In the 39th minute, Thirroul were again denied on the goal line when Marcus Rushbourne’s header was again cleared off the line by the Flacon’s back post defence.

The game became a physical encounter after the break with referee John Ruscica forced to issue six second-half yellow cards.

The second half lacked any real chances until the 85th minute when Thirroul nearly netted a third with Jeremy Harrison playing through Oscar Pruks one-on-one with Chris Jarman, the striker’s shot beat the goalkeeper but was ultimately denied by the post.

Thirroul closed out the game, coming out 2-1 winners.

Player of the match Dunn credited the opposition after the victory while talking about the ever-growing winning record of the side under coach Kevin Lewis

“They’re the best team we’ve played all year, without a doubt the best team we’ve played,” Dunn said.

“It means a lot, It’s a bit of a dynasty for old Kev (Kevin Lewis), so we hope to continue next year.”

Lewis praised his team’s effort on the day and throughout their five-year streak.

“It’s a good spirit, a lot of these boys I’ve coached for quite a while, some from youth grade,” he said.

“It’s important to try and get home on the last game, so I’m very pleased for the boys.”

Thirroul 2  (Jordan Cox 24, Lachlan Dunn 38)

Oak Flats 1 (Joshua Swinton 27’)

Player of the match: Lachlan Dunn

Thirroul: 1. WEARING Chris, 2. HARRISON Jeremy, 3. ALLISON Sam, 4. DUNN Lachlan, 5. TOWNSON James, 6. GYNGELL Robert, 7. DE LYALL Jonathan, 8. WALTER Jarrod, 9. PRUKS Oscar, 10. COX Jordan, 11. RUSHBOURNE Marcus.

Substitutes: 12. SPARGO Matt, 13. OTO Sohei, 14. PICKTHALL Calum, 16. WARD Simon, 17. AGALEWATTE Sanjaya

Oak Flats: 1. JARMAN Chris, 2. CRANDELL Blake, 3. KOTRIC David, 4. GRASA Mathew, 5. DAY Luke, 6. BLANCH Rhys, 12. CASEY Adam, 8. EAGLETON Joshua, 9. FERNANDEZ Chad, 10. BAUSCH Alexander, 11. SWINTON Joshua.

Substitutes: 7. CAPPETTA Vince, 14. KELTON Jack, 15. SOVRANO Jaiden, 16. TOSKOVSKI Jamie, 13. DAY Liam.

Date: 31 October 2020

Venue: Ian McLennan Park

Referee: John Ruscica

Assistant Referees: Anna Phipps & Steven Payne

Fourth Official: Mick Agim

Report by Dominic Criniti, on Twitter @DCriniti

Photo by Pedro Garcia

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