Gerringong Breakers downed Berkeley Sports 2-0 in a hard-fought encounter at King Mickey Park.
Star forward Joshua Hawker proved the difference, notching a second-half double to send the Breakers through to the semi-finals.
The match started competitively, with both teams eager to get on top in the opening exchanges.
Seven minutes in, Berkeley midfielder Luke Boersma intercepted a pass on the edge of the box, but he took a weak shot that Joel Lockard caught comfortably. The side nearly profited from another giveaway 10 minutes later, this time Mondo Kagami curling one wide from the right of the box.
Berkeley had the ball in the net with eight first-half minutes to play when Ryosuke Matsuoka executed a well-struck volley but was ruled offside.
In the 42nd minute, the Breakers responded when Alex Gonzalez’s clipped shot from the edge of the box just dipped over. Gerringong had another chance from a free-kick a few seconds later that Jack Kay powered narrowly over the bar.
The teams couldn’t be separated at the break after a tense first period.
Berkeley’s Nuno Pires looked to make the most of a good start to the second half when the forward turned well in the box but fired wide of the left post six minutes in. Nine minutes later, Boersma unleashed a fierce volley from inside the box that was well-saved by Lockard.
The Goats were left to rue missed chances as they went behind just after the hour mark. Gonzalez getting in a left-sided cross that Hawker managed to bundle in from close in.
Gerringong made it two 74 minutes in when Hawker buried a superb free-kick past Berkeley goalkeeper Claude D’Alessio.
Buoyed by a well-taken brace, Hawker continued to cause issues over the next 10 minutes, finding space in the box, but he couldn’t add to his tally.
Gerringong had two more chances from set pieces in the final minute of regular time. Daniel Lucas sliced a volley clear of the bar before Kasey Kulscar also drove one off target.
The Breakers held on for the remaining minutes to continue their fantastic inaugural season in the Men’s Premiership.
Report by Timothy Gibson, on Twitter @Timg123_
Photos courtesy of Graham Brown