Picton capped off a brilliant end to the season by taking out the Illawarra District League Youth Grade grand final with a 3-0 thumping of Helensburgh at Ian McLennan Park on Friday night.

The Rangers, who finished inside the top five on goal difference, dominated the match with goals from Mohammad Skandari, Sam Carroll and Lennon Cole.

Helensburgh and Picton both got shots away inside the opening stages without really testing the respective goalkeepers, though the Rangers would take the lead with 15 minutes played. The Rangers broke into the box with a shot saved by Broughton Webb falling for Mohammad Skandari who scrambled the ball in at the back post.

Picton had the better of proceedings for the remainder of the half and came close to doubling their advantage in the 25th minute when Jayden Jordon rattled the crossbar from distance.

The Rangers second came four minutes into the second period of play when midfielder Carroll picked out the bottom left corner from 25 metres out.

Carroll turned provider a couple of minutes later when he played in Skandari, however, a heavy touch from the winger allowed for Webb to charge out and clear the ball. However, the third goal was soon to come with Cole finding the back of the net.

Picton wouldn’t relent with Cooper McKeown and Sebastian Mesias coming close before Helesburgh forced Aaron Whittingham to make his first save in the 85th minute.

Skandari had a chance to put even more icing on the cake in added-on time when he broke through the backline, but after rounding the goalkeeper, he scuffed his finish wide.

After the match, Picton coach Like White credited his side for their tremendous finals series which saw them knock off each of the other sides in the top five. 

“We scraped through in the end, but I was confident from day one that we were going to get there [into the finals] or somewhere thereabouts,” White said.

“Coming into the grand final, it’s always going to be a bit different. It’s about whichever team turns up on the day and I am proud to say in every round [of the finals] we have played, we have turned up and showed who we are and what we can do which is pleasing for the boys.”

A selection of the young Rangers have already experienced football in the higher grades and White hopes winning this piece of silverware will give them the confidence to kick on.

“There are a few boys that have been there or thereabouts, a couple of boys even tasted it last year,” White explained. 

“Winning the grand final will help them towards that push and anything can happen next year, but ideally, I would like a lot of these boys to be pushed on to first grade or reserve grade.”

Helensburgh 0

Picton 3 (Mohammed Skandari 15’, Sam Carroll 49’, Lennon Cole 55’)

Player of the match: Lennon Cole

Helensburgh: 1. WEBB Broughton, 2. ASHTON Jed, 3. MATIUSCENKO Jake, 4. FOX Mitchel, 5. CORLISS Benjamin, 6. GRIPTON Samuel, 7. WHITAKER Beau, 8. WALLER Dylan, 9. KEMP Dylan, 10. PAINE Jake, 11. TONKINSON Blake

Substitutes: 12. WALSH Cormack, 13. MULLIGAN William, 14. BELL Joshua, 15. PUGLIESE Otto, 17. WARD Aaron

Picton: 1. WHITTINGHAM Aaron, 3. HAWKE Josh, 4. BAXTER Travis, 5. LEE Brandon, 6. MESIAS Sebastian, 7. JORDON Jayden, 10. SKANDARI Mohammad, 13. COLE Lennon, 14. LIPOVIC Aaron, 15. CAROLL Sam, 9. SARCIA Mitchell

Substitutes: 12. JORDON Bradley, 17. WESTBROOK Tyson, 8. HAYNES Ryan. 16. SCOTT Ryan, 16. SCOTT Liam, 2. LEE Guy, 11. MCKEOWN Cooper

Unlimited interchange

Date: 30 October 2020

Venue: Ian McLennan Park

Referee: Ethan Zvargulis

Assistant Referees: Bryce Dreghorn and Tim Gibson

Fourth Official: Damien Dennelly

Report by Dylan Arvela, on Twitter @dylanarvela

Photos by Pedro Garcia

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